Just because your interview may be scheduled for Casual
Friday, it doesn’t mean that you can show up in jeans and an untucked
shirt. Regardless of the job you’re applying for, it’s important to
dress for success by wearing a subdued suit and tie with a minimal
amount of bodacious bling. Conversely, it’s also important not to
overdress. Waltzing into your interview looking like the Monopoly Man
may make your prospective employer think that you’re failing to take the
process seriously. Play it safe and leave your top hat and tails at home.
In today’s digital age, it’s nearly impossible to get away
with lies and embellishments on your resume, so don’t even bother trying
to pump yourself with fabricated claims. After all, it’s only a matter
of time before a new employer discovers that you didn’t actually win
eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games
or that you didn’t personally broker a Mid-East cease fire agreement
during your summer vacation. Lying during your interview can be grounds
for dismissal later on -- and that’s no lie.
No.8 Badmouthing your past employer
No one wants to hire a malcontent, so be prepared to bite
your tongue when the interviewer invariably asks you about your previous
employer. Speaking negatively about your last job -- even if it
involved sorting monkey feces or taste-testing expired dairy products --
will give the interviewer the impression that you’re a difficult person to get along with.
No.7 Being too chummy
Everyone wants to make a good first impression, but there’s a
fine line between developing a good rapport with your interviewer and
becoming too familiar. Always address your interviewer by their last
name, unless directed otherwise, and treat them in a courteous manner.
Bear in mind that a job interview also isn’t the place to try out your
stand-up routine, so ditch your opening line about the best thing about a
redneck family fight
(it’s the make-up sex, of course), and concentrate instead on coming
across as a serious and responsible employee. There will be plenty of
time to make jokes in the lunch room once you actually land the job.
No.6 Saying too much
Contrary to popular belief, a job interview isn’t all about
you. It’s also a chance to learn about the ins and outs of the company
you’re hoping to join. Be prepared to zip your lips for minutes at a
time or otherwise you may come across as domineering and needy. It’s
also important to be careful about the subjects you discuss. Although
your interviewer will be interested in hearing about your past
accomplishments and aspirations, they probably don’t need to hear about
your bearded lady fetish or the fact that you experience a burning
sensation every time you pee.
No.5 Not knowing enough about the employer
Chances are you’ll have several days to prepare for your
interview, so make the most of your time by learning about the company.
If it's publicly traded, read the most recent 10-Q filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. If the company is privately held,
start with its website. The time before your interview is also the
perfect occasion to update your resume, so take the time to weed out all of those references who are currently serving time in a federal correctional institution.
No.4 Discussing benefits too soon
Just as you should never ask a woman her age, it’s also
considered to be in bad taste to discuss salary and benefits until
you’ve been offered the job. Bringing up the topic too soon will
convince the interviewer that you have little interest in the job beyond
a monthly paycheck and your standard two weeks of vacation time.
No.3 Rushing the interview
Only a small percentage of candidates ever make it to the
interview stage, so try to relax and enjoy the ride. Be prepared to be
grilled for up to an hour and avoid glancing at your watch or asking how
long the interview will last, since it gives the impression that you're
late for a far more important date.
No.2 Being overly modest
Modesty may be a virtue, but it won’t help you land a job.
Your interview is the chance for you to shine, so shelve your humility
and highlight your strengths and accomplishments -- just make sure to
focus on those accomplishments that are most relevant to the position
for which you’re applying. After all, the interviewer probably doesn’t
have to know about your ability to shotgun a dozen beers or the fact that you’re the state’s largest owner of Michael Bolton memorabilia.
No.1 Arriving late
A job interview isn’t a party, so arriving casually late
won’t score you any points. Make sure to show up 10-15 minutes in
advance and notify a receptionist upon your arrival. Getting to your
interview early will allow you to familiarize yourself with a foreign environment, and if you’re lucky, the waiting room may even have magazines from this decade.