First impressions don’t have to be the worst impressions. Here’s what could go wrong – and how to avoid it in your next interview.
You’ve worked hard for this interview. You read up on how to craft the perfect resume, and slaved over a custom cover letter. You have all the necessary experience, skills and education for the job, and now it’s time to meet your potential employer and prove what you’re made of in person. But beware: a small interview faux pas can deter even the most understanding employer. Read on for examples of basic interviewing follies, and how you can avoid them.
You didn’t know when to stop talking
Your interviewer did not need to know about your recent break-up, every single detail of your job’s day-to-day, or how disgruntled you are that your parents moved to Key West and live on a boat.
A little mystery never hurt anybody. Try to avoid disclosing personal information – think political or religious beliefs, your relationship status, or your diet. Even if your interviewer is pressuring you for a tell-all response on whether you’re a cat or dog person, it’s a flaw on their part, not yours. No matter how much you think they’re interested in the trials and tribulations of your social life, (or how interested they actually are) it’s best to bite your tongue when considering revealing anything about your personal life. Channel your LinkedIn profile – not Match.com.
The dog ate your resume, your alarm didn’t go off, and there was traffic
You’ve really done it this time. You showed up fifteen minutes late, forgot to bring a hard copy of your resume, and the CEO’s last name slipped your mind. No matter what your reason is—and whether or not it’s true—you’ve already put yourself at a severe disadvantage.
It’s crucial that you not only prepare for the interview, but prepare for the worst. Plan for damage control in case there’s traffic, you spilled coffee on yourself or your hairdryer broke. Even if there really was a car accident on the highway, the interviewer is now concerned about your reliability and punctuality (or apparent lack thereof).
Preparation is key to making a good first impression with your interviewer. Even if you’re a brilliant candidate, the hiring manager will foremost remember that you stumbled in fifteen minutes late.
You weren’t on your best behavior
Even if you’re just a victim of #restingbitchface, a smile can mean the difference between landing the job and continuing to send your resume out. Think about your mannerisms too; saying yeah yeah yeah, slouching, playing with your hair or fiddling are all off-limits. Think about what your great aunt (the strict one) would say if she saw you. Would she approve of your posture, or scold you to sit up straight?
You weren’t confident in your abilities
As a job seeker, you also must be a salesperson, marketing your skillset and positive attributes to potential employers. If you want an employer to have confidence in your talents and work ethic, you have to sell them—and in order to do that effectively, you need to believe in yourself and what you’re selling.
Remember that you’re qualified for the position – if you weren’t, the employer would never have taken the time to schedule an interview with you. So believe in yourself and don’t let something as trivial as a mispronunciation or a latte stain ruin the opportunity.