Job hunting takes a lot of time and a lot of emotional intelligence to get it right. The whole process from finding job openings to submitting your resume to practicing for an interview can be exhausting. But letting yourself get too burnt out could lead to making a mistake that could cost you your dream job.
An interview isn’t only about the hour or two spent with a potential employer. A successful interview weighs greatly on the amount of preparation you do. Once an interview is scheduled, whether it’s in person or over the phone, the preparation should begin. Things like researching the employer, proofreading your resume, selecting your best outfit, and completing any pre-interview requirements take time and shouldn’t be left for the last minute.
There are many things to avoid in an interview, some of which are obvious and others that might not seem like a big deal. If you’re preparing for an interview, you’ll definitely want to avoid these five things.
1. Checking Your Phone
Sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it. Just a quick check to see if you received a text message or what’s new on social media within the last 30 minutes. Checking our phone has become such an instinctive habit that it has even been known to happen in a job interview. While some job interviews are casual and informal, it is still not a good idea to check your phone if you’re being interviewed.
Checking your phone sends the message that you’re distracted and not 100% focused on the interview. The interviewer might perceive that you don’t really want the job or that you’d rather be somewhere else. They might wonder if they hire you, will you be constantly checking your phone on the job? Even if the person interviewing you has their phone on the table, it’s best that you keep yours in your pocket or purse on silent mode or off.
2. Sounding Rehearsed
While it is recommended that you practice what you’ll say when responding to interview questions, sounding too rehearsed may work to your disadvantage. A job interview is meant to give you the opportunity to get to know who you would be working with and let them get to know you. With that said, it’s important to be yourself. If you rehearse your answers too much, you run the risk of sounding robotic and masking your authentic self.
If you say something rehearsed that your interviewer likes and then later after you’re hired, they find out the rehearsed didn’t align with your core values, you could find yourself in a job that is not a good fit. Or perhaps if you don’t let your true personality come out in the interview, you may find out later that you and the other workers don’t get along as well as you thought you would.
3. Not Making the Most of Your Time
It’s easy to think that an interview is all about answering questions, but it’s also about asking them. Even if you answer every question flawlessly, but fail to ask any questions, you’re not making the most of your interview time. Research the company ahead of time and come prepared with questions you want to ask. Then, treat part of the interview like a conversation. If a question comes up naturally, ask it!
At the end of the day, you want to be happy at your job. Making the most of your interview time allows you to truly get to know the company and the people you’ll be working with every day. It also sends the message that you want the job and you’re engaged in the position already, which will likely give you a leg up when it comes time to make a hiring decision.
4. Forgetting Something
Whether it’s forgetting to print out copies of your resume or forgetting to wear a tie, overlooking an important task or detail doesn’t send a good impression. It’s true that everyone makes mistakes, but nearly every manager wants an employee that they can count on to do what they’re asked to do. Avoid forgetting something in your interview by giving yourself plenty of time to prepare.
It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to ask you to complete a questionnaire, test or assignment before your interview. Additionally, there are some things that anyone should do before an interview, like printing copies of your resume, practicing what you want to say, or selecting the proper interview attire. Double- and triple-check that you’ve completed everything you need to do before your interview.
5. Speaking Poorly About Past Jobs
This is a definite no-no in an interview. If you’ve had a negative experience in a past job, keep it to yourself. Speaking poorly about past jobs or employers comes across as gossiping and negative. Would you want to hire someone who is negative? Most interviewers who hear someone say something negative about another job are inclined to know that there are two sides to every story. They might think that you were part of the problem, which does not work to your benefit in a job interview.
If you’re asked about past job experiences, focus on the positives. Talk about the things you accomplished, goals you exceeded or the relationships you built. If you’re asked specifically about a negative experience, it’s best to talk about a learning moment. Putting a positive spin on a negative experience sends the message that you’re able to bounce back and learn from every experience that comes your way.
Goodwill’s Career Services
From resume and interview skills development to digital training and on-site hiring events, the Career Services at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona are here, free of charge, to help you land a job. Check out the free resources online or find a career center near you.