Career Advice, Interviews

Fatal Interview Mistakes To Avoid In 2011

Are white socks standing between you and a job offer?  I laughed when I heard this story; sadly though, this is no laughing matter.  A recruiter friend of mine told me that a hiring manager interviewed her prospect face-to-face and passed him over because he wore white socks to the interview.

While it may seem ridiculous to nix a perfectly qualified candidate because of his sock color, image matters – and this particular role being a sales position is no exception. With US employers adding fewer jobs than expected last month, the stakes are higher than ever – being prepared and avoiding these interview pitfalls is a must!

  • Bring Your Best Résumé – Hopefully you have a great résumé that demonstrates to the hiring manager that you are a qualified candidate. That is important, but it is also important to remember to bring additional copies of your résumé with you when you go to an in-person interview. Don’t assume that sending the doc file to HR is enough. Also, if have a ‘stink-jet’ printer at home that is grainy or of poor quality, opt instead for a professional print job – be sure to use high quality paper.
  • Arrive With Time To Spare – After maneuvering your way via public or private transportation, it is very unlikely your hair and clothing have stayed in a pristine state.  Arriving early also gives you an opportunity to make sure you know where you are going.  You should leave enough time to get settled in; you should be calm and collected when you enter through the company doors. Being late to a job interview or showing up looking like an unmade bed is the interview kiss of death!
  • Do Your Homework In addition to doing as much research as possible about the company, be prepared to answer questions regarding your background in a way that is concise and focuses on your prior accomplishments; illustrate what you bring to the table in terms of value.
  • Don’t Wear White Socks I have nothing against white socks – but don’t wear them on an interview. If you are wearing a dark colored suit as you should be, then your socks should match your outfit.  Your shoes should be well polished, and your shirt and tie should match without being flashy.  Ladies should avoid loud patterns and colors, and skip the perfume and dangly jewelry.  When in doubt, conservative wins out.
  • Reduce Your Rambling – There is nothing that makes an interviewer check out mentally more than a rambler.  If you are asked a question, answer in a few succinct sentences and then stop.  Giving more information than was requested in an effort to share things you think are important is not going to get you to the next step.  Prepare for your interview by practicing concise talking points that are likely to come up. If need be, consult with a career coach for expert advice regarding what you should and shouldn’t say on an interview.

While there are many other stumbling blocks that the interviewee faces, these tips will guide you in the process and serve as a foundation to a positive interview.  The statistics may be less than ideal right now; but people are getting jobs every day, so keep your game face on and take extra steps to be the best.