As the class of 2012 prepares to join other college graduates in the next few weeks, it can be both an exciting and discouraging time. With the current state of the economy, every job interview is important. Here is a compilation of the ten biggest mistakes you can make on an interview:
1. Not actually making it to the interview. Often times you can be so excited and anxious for an interview that you prepare for it in every way possible, but wait until the last minute to find out where it is and how to get there. The first step should always be finding out where it is, getting directions to it, and finding alternate routes should anything go wrong.
2. Arriving late to the interview. The best way to avoid arriving late is to leave with enough time to drive to the interview and back. This leaves plenty of time for you to get lost, pulled over, or return home if you realize you forgot something important. In addition to this you need to arrive for your interview ten to fifteen minutes early. It is better to arrive early and have to wait to be seen, than to come rushing in late.
3. Dressing inappropriately. First impressions are vital to you landing a job. Before your interview be sure to research what kind of company it is you are interviewing with and plan your outfit accordingly. By researching the company website, employees, or even stopping by the company prior to your interview, you can determine how to dress appropriately for your interview. When in doubt it is better to be over dressed than underdressed. Whatever you are wearing, however, needs to fit well and be comfortable.
4. Not researching the company ahead of time. Before your interview find out as much information as you can about the people interviewing you, the company you are interviewing with, and the position.
5. Lack of confidence. You should enter your job interviews with the confidence that you are able to do the job. Nothing will cause a prospective employer to skip over you more than someone who does not seem confident enough to do the job. Future employers need to know they can trust you to handle the job.
6. Poor eye contact. Part of looking confident, prepared, and ready is making good eye contact with the interviewer(s). Show them you are attentive and alert.
7. Poor speech. When in an interview, speak clearly. Make sure every answer you give is clear, concise, and direct. Be sure to be honest in your responses. An interviewer can tell when you are exaggerating or lying and this will show him or her that you cannot be trusted. Also, do not use slang or inappropriate language. Sound professional and educated, because you are!
8. Speaking negatively about previous employers or job experience. Even if you have had negative experiences during past employment, do not talk to the interviewer about it. The interviewer wants to see that you would be a positive, faithful, and trustworthy employee. Bashing previous employers or jobs will not show them that you possess these qualities.
9. Ending in a whisper. Make sure your last impression is just as impressive as your first. Finish your interview with a firm handshake, smile, and expression of gratitude for being seen by the company. End with a bang!
10. Not following up. After an interview you should send a quick thank you note or email to the company. After a week if you have not heard from the company follow up with a telephone call to see if a decision has been made regarding the position. Most people who interview for a job will not take the time to follow up with the company. This shows that you are interested in a career with the company, not just someone looking for any available job.
The Career Center has many tips for what to do and what not to do on a job interview. You can find out more information by stopping by the Scott building or by visiting career.vanguard.edu.