There’s no one right way to do an interview. No matter how you slice the cake, interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when a hiring manager starts firing behavioral interview questions at you.
After all, you want to come across as interested but not over-eager. You want to seem capable, but not like you’re forcing anything. And you want to appear confident without being boastful.
Most of all, you don’t want to be considered inauthentic. Here are six ways you might, however, come across as just that.
1. You don’t fully understand what the company does
You should always do your research about a company for which you’re interviewing. If you go into an interview blind, you’ll almost certainly seem like you really didn’t care much about the company to do your homework. Asking obvious questions about what the company does and who the company’s competition is will be dead giveaways.
2. You’re interested in just any job
If you’re going to a job interview, the hiring manager wants to know that you’re interested in the job for which you’re interviewing. While you may be open to other opportunities at the company because you really admire that company, perhaps, it’s important to express your deepest interested in the job at hand. Otherwise, you might seem inauthentic in that you’re just desperate to take any job.
3. You care more about the salary than anything else
Sure, salary is hugely important! It’s totally fair for you to be concerned about the money you’ll be making, and you absolutely should ask about it and negotiate if you feel uncomfortable with the pay. But money isn’t everything. And, if you spend the bulk of your time in the interview focusing on your salary, the interviewer might assume you don’t care about any other important job factors — like growing as a professional, challenging yourself, collaborating with the team and more.
4. You don’t ask any questions of the interviewer
At the end of most interviews, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. It’s OK and normal if you don’t have any questions — sometimes they’ve already covered everything you had in mind! If that’s the case, you can say that, letting them know that they’ve already answered your questions. Even still, however, it’s best to come up with at least a single question to show that you’re authentic and truly interested. You might ask about the company’s values, the company culture, the benefits package or something else entirely. Not sure what to ask about — here are some common interview follow-up questions. (Just be sure not to ask too many questions; you don’t want to leave seeming confused or unsure, either!)
5. You don’t inquire about the hiring decision
The hiring manager may tell you at the end of your interview when they’re planning to make a hiring decision. If they don’t, however, it’s up to you to ask. While you don’t need to sound pushy, you can simply ask them if they know when they’re looking to get someone on-boarded. Asking this makes you seem authentic and especially keen.
6. You don’t send a follow-up note
Sending a follow-up note is perhaps one of the most important parts of the interview process. A genuine note that expresses your interest in the job and appreciation for the hiring manager’s time and consideration can go a seriously long way.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.