Every day, people leave interviews thinking, “Wow, that could have gone way better.” This can be minimalized! You can never be too prepared for an interview. Below are a few examples of people who were ill-prepared when going into their interview, along with a few tips on how to personally avoid similar situations.
Whatever you put on your resume is fair game to talk about during an interview. Therefore, don’t put anything on your resume that isn’t true or that you aren’t comfortable talking about. To emphasize this point, here’s a story about someone who may have exaggerated a small aspect of their resume.
“I went on a job interview for a Director’s Assistant, and was told it was someone who worked in film. I found out upon arriving that I was actually meeting a very prominent movie Director. He saw on my resume that I spoke “some French” which led him to conduct my entire interview in French. I speak SOME, but I hear little to almost none when they get going. Needless to say, the interview was a bust, and he laughed me right out of his office. I was totally embarrassed and amended my resume immediately.”
Contrary to popular belief, humor is not a bad thing to use during an interview. One of the reasons it’s not bad, more so beneficial, is that it demonstrates your social skills. It shows that you have a personality and are someone coworkers would get along with. It also helps you get to know each other better; after all, an interview is just a conversation. However, don't feel the need to turn your interview into a stand-up routine; keep it appropriate, rather than focusing on entertaining. Below is an example of how someone was able to get a job, maybe because of humor, even though they were very nervous.
“I went on a job interview a few years ago for a data entry position. Part of the interview was testing your typing speed. The interviewer stood next to me and told me to “right click to open this file” and I was so nervous that in the note pad window that was open, I actually wrote the word ‘click’. Both got a good laugh and I GOT THE JOB!”
Silence your cell phone prior to going into the interview! If you do forget and it does go off, silence it immediately and apologize to the interviewer. Below is what you don’t want to do if you forget to silence it.
“I was interviewing a candidate for a mortgage sales position. She was dressed very professionally and had about a year and a half of experience. The interview was going very well for about 20 minutes when her cellphone started ringing. Instead of shutting it off, she answered it and began to talk (to her boyfriend) for approximately one minute. I was astonished and told her that the interview was over. She didn't know why I canceled the interview. All the better!”
If you are asked a question relating to your current or former job, be honest, but do not talk bad about them. You never know if the person interviewing you knows your boss. And, you don’t want to ruin your new opportunity by talking negatively about them as seen in the story below.
“I asked a candidate why she was leaving her current job. She proceeded to rake her boss over the coals for the next 10 minutes. Then she told me his name! I have been playing golf with this guy at my golf course for the last 12 years. I only know him from golf, and he seems like a very nice guy who treats everyone with respect. When I told her that I knew him, the blood drained from her face. It is a very small world. I did not hire her.”
Spell check is a very handy tool, especially when it comes to professional emails. If you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, the email you send them will be their first impression of you. This is one reason why it is vital to double check everything before you send it. Auto-correct can also be your best friend; however, it can just as easily be your worst enemy as it is below.
“I had just finished interviewing with a company for a nonprofit job that I really wanted. I decided to be super-proactive and email the executive director a few hours after my interview. I was out and about, so I emailed her from my iPhone. While I thought I wrote “I can hardly contain my excitement about the possibility of working with your organization,” auto-correct changed “excitement” to “excrement.” It was far and away the worst auto-correct disaster I have ever had. I immediately called the executive director back to apologize profusely. She was laughing so hard on the other end that I knew my auto-correct nightmare wouldn’t hijack all of my chances for getting the job. While I didn’t end up getting the job there, I did remain connected with the executive director. She said she would ‘never forget me.’ There’s no way I’ll ever forget it either!”
Fidgeting and lots of hand gestures aren’t only distracting, they can also potentially lead to serious issues such as described below.
“Halfway through, I managed to get my thumb ring stuck in my necklace and had to sit through the rest of the interview with my hand stuck to my neck. It wasn’t too bad until one of the interviewers tried to shake my hand at the end.”
Don’t forget that the Academic and Career Development Center is putting on The Perfect Interview workshop which will take place from 2:30-3:30 pm on November 10th in the Milo Bail Student Center Council Room. Here you will learn how to prepare for an interview, the best ways to answer questions during an interview, and other tips and tricks to ensure that your next interview is a complete success!
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