Interviews are not just about answering questions, it is also an insight into who the person is and how they will fit into the company and the team. Remember that spoken words fade quite quickly in people’s minds, but the emotions that person felt during that time will resonate for much longer.
To ensure you make yourself memorable in a positive way at an interview you should NEVER:
Be late – Always arrive between 5-10 minutes before in an interview. Trying to slip in right on the dot can be perceived as someone who won’t put in additional time if required and has a problem managing their time. If you are driving to the interview, make sure you have enough time to get there, find a park and then walk to the interview without looking rushed or puffed. Same goes with public transport, ensure you allow yourself leeway for missed trains or accidents along the way. If you are very early go get yourself a coffee- this is a great way to prepare yourself mentally for the questions ahead.
Have disrespectful personal grooming –
- Overpowering Fragrance: Do not be a skunk who leaves a trail of potent fragrance behind wherever they go. I once had a candidate who had so much perfume on, I had to stop the interview and move into a bigger room with more ventilation.
- Smelling of cigarette smoke: Do not have a cigarette just before going into an interview. If you need to have a cigarette walk around the block afterwards to air out, wash your hands and have a breath mint.
- Poor body odour: Make sure you shower that morning and wear deodorant that will cover up any body odour you may have. We as humans all emit a smell, but in our society it is impolite to go au natural. Don’t forget to pop a mint in your mouth just before to freshen your breath; you will of course be doing a lot of talking and you don’t want your words to be lost in the garlic sauce breath you are breathing everywhere.
- Wear ripped or stained clothing: Even if you are meeting a recruiter for a meet & greet, do not show up with last weeks curry stains on your shirt, or a jumper with holes under the armpits. This conveys a message that you do not take pride in your work, and do not put in 100% effort.
Be rude to the receptionist: A lot of smaller agencies and companies do not have a receptionist full time and you will be greeted by their colleague or even the interviewer themselves. I lost count of how many candidates mistook me for the receptionist, and were rude, dismissive and sometimes downright patronising. This is part of the first seven seconds of a meeting, so make sure you are polite, responsive and as charismatic as you can be. Remember there are no do-overs in first impressions.
Have your phone on: It is the height of arrogance and rudeness to answer your mobile phone, check messages or reply to an email whilst in an interview. Never should you bring your phone out onto the table, or have it on where it can make a noise. Even if you are meeting a recruiter – do not touch your phone, you can go without it for an hour.
Read off your CV and not know your facts: Know your facts- your resume is all about you and what you have done. If you have to refer to your resume, then you could have falsified it in the eyes of the interviewer.
Appear arrogant: Team players are more likely to get hired, so ensure you are talking about the team when answering questions. You can talk about your key involvements, and how proud you are of your accomplishments, but do not talk about how “no one knew what they were doing” and “it was up to you to always save the day“.
Constantly name drop: Don’t be that guy! If you need to drop people’s names constantly in an interview, then you are probably not that qualified for the role. Secondly if you were as connected as you say you are, then you probably would not have needed an interview in the first place. Mentioning one or two people as part of a conversation is fine, but do not overdo it.
Too much information: PLEASE do not go into detail about your recent visit to the gynecologist, your children’s constant bouts of diarrhea, your million cats or dogs, the reason why you cannot get a job or how your skirt keep riding up under the table. These are all conversations I have experienced over the years interviewing candidates both as a recruiter and as a hiring manager. They were all unnecessary things to be discussed during an interview.
Inquire about lunch and holiday breaks: This is not a conversation to be had at a first interview- if you are going for a second and on wards interview then you can slip it into the conversation by way of asking about staff policies and benefits.
Answer questions without giving an example: You are there to get a job, so don’t sit there and give one word answers or no examples along the way. An interview is a privilege you get to sell yourself, and make the most of the time you have there.
Yawn: Yawning comes across as you are bored, if you think you are tired then pep yourself up an hour before with a coffee or a tea, to ensure you are focused.
Speak negatively – Even if you did not get along with your old colleagues or boss be mature and speak positive words about them. Slandering them to a stranger in an interview creates a negative emotion and thoughts that will hinder your application. No one wants to work with a “Negative Nancy”, they can create a toxic working environments and become unappealing candidates.
Act too casual with the interview: I once went to meet a candidate in a coffee shop, it was a headhunt I was following up on. During the interview he stroked my hand, asked me when he could take me out, and if I had a boyfriend. The meeting was cut very short, and I walked away from the candidate. Make sure you keep it professional, don’t swear, get too familiar or slouch in your chair and pretend you are chatting to a mate at a pub. The interview is always an interview, regardless of the location. Be professional and sell the best side of yourself.
And lastly ….
Beg for a job: In certain places it is getting tougher and tougher to land a job. Do not show your desperation by begging for a job, it may be good practice to “ask for the job” but that should not be misunderstood for begging. Do not try and guilt trip someone into hiring you, or begging to work for less money than they were initially offering. This is not the emotional legacy you want interviewer to remember you by, you want them to remember you as upbeat, positive and a force to be reckoned with.
Interviews can be a daunting experience, so remember to take a deep breath, relax as much as you can, and be positive. Treat each interview as the job you want, by being passionate, considerate and informative.