Recent grads, get ahead of the curve by avoiding these interview mistakes.
You have the education and that very important piece of paper. Now are you ready to put that knowledge into action and find a job in your field? If you are new to the professional world of job seeking it can be a daunting task to create the resume, ace the interview, and get the job. Whether you’ve had your fair share of experience interviewing while in college or you are entirely new to the process, it can be easy to slip up and make a mistake. These are mistakes that you should avoid at all costs during an interview.
- Relying on your college accomplishments. If you are a recent college grad you may be keen to talk up your accolades during your college years. However, hiring managers who have been in the industry for a while may not be impressed with good grades, extracurricular activities, and courses taken. They want to see that you’ve taken the steps to gain real-world experience in your field. Even if you don’t have much experience outside of college, focus on the experiences that you can relate over to the working world.
- Being a know-it-all. You’re a recent graduate—employers do not expect you to know absolutely everything about the industry. In fact, acting this way will mostly come off as fake and cocky, something that will hurt you during an interview. Instead, showcase the knowledge that you do know and let the hiring manger know that you are willing to learn and evolve with the industry.
- Being ignorant about the company. If you are new to the interview process then you might not realize that it’s not just about your skills in the industry. Not only do you have to prove you are capable of doing the job, but you have to show you are knowledgeable about that specific company. Learn about the company’s goals and past achievements. It also doesn’t hurt to research who runs the company and who will be interviewing you, if possible. If you show up to the interview without this knowledge, you are severely limiting your chances of landing the job.
- Asking about salary. You should not mention pay during an interview—the company has not even decided if they’d like to hire you or not. Salary should not even be mentioned during the first interview unless the interviewer brings it up. A company wants to see that you are interested in the job and are capable of doing it—they aren’t searching for someone who wants the highest pay and best benefits. Otherwise, you would be willing to work for any company.
- Not considering references. Your references should not be an afterthought. In fact, besides the interview, they may be the most important part of getting the job. First off, find references that have good things to say about you. Do not include references from past jobs where you’ve had bad experiences or left in an undesirable situation. You should also ask permission and give a heads-up to references before listing them as so. If a potential employer calls a reference who is unsuspecting, it will look unprofessional.
- Forgetting to prepare questions. When you are in an interview, at some point the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. The worst thing you can do in this scenario is not ask any questions or just make up questions on the spot. The interviewer wants to see that you’ve put thought into meaningful questions and that you’ve done your research on the company. Refrain from overly personal questions—keep it professional. Ask about company procedures or what a typical day working for the employer would look like.
- Having a less than stellar online persona. Surprisngly enough, your social media accounts, blogs, websites, etc. can make or break you when it comes to finding a job. You can be sure that employers are looking you up before they offer you that job. Anything not suited for the work environment – pictures from parties, unprofessional language, etc. – could be what’s keeping you from that job offer. Make sure that anything you make public on social media is something you wouldn’t mind a hiring manager seeing.
- Failing to follow-up. One of the most important aspects of the interview that college grads may not know about is the follow-up. This is post-interview, but it could make the difference between getting the job or being forgotten. Following up could be simply sending a quick personal note to the interviewer, thanking them for their time and reassuring your interest in the position. This shows courtesy as well as reminding the interviewer of who you are and what you want.
- Taking the first offer that comes along. With being a new grad, you can’t afford to be super picky. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept the first offer that is put on your lap. When offered a position, think long and hard about what types of opportunity you have for advancement. Will these be a position where you can develop your skills and go farther? The last thing you want is a position where you will remain static for years to come.