How not to mess up the job interview

With the economy in recession and jobs harder to come by, it can take months to get an interview, but only a few seconds to mess it up.  Candidates can blow it for themselves in many ways according to a recent poll by the US Society for Human Resource Management.   According to the survey:

  • 67% of hiring managers believe that dressing inappropriately showed a lack of respect for the job, and a lack of research of the employer
  • 58% agreed that resume typos and grammar errors were warning signs of general carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • 58% of those surveyed thought that showing up late for an interview is a red flag that you are not concerned enough about the job to get there on time
  • 49% agree that speaking ill of a former boss raises questions about trust and poor emotional intelligence.

The following are some tips of how to be successful in the interview process:

Before the Interview

  • Practice interview skills with others.  Rehearse your attributes and skills in front of the mirror
  • Research the company and the position you are applying for. Approximately 25% of hiring Managers use the internet to research candidates before inviting them for an interview.
  • Pay extra attention to grooming and presentation.  Dressing appropriately for a role one level up from the job you are applying for is a smart rule.  Dress for Success.
  • Plan how you are going to get there.  Allow more time than you would expect to get to the meeting.  Call immediately if it looks like there will be a delay and make apologies
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes ahead of your appointment

During the Interview

  • Greet the interviewer(s), firmly shake hands and introduce your self
  • Sit down only once you have been invited to do so
  • Be attentive to body language and posture.  Maintain an open posture and use eye contact when answering questions.
  • If you are asked questions about your previous employer, focus on the positive and find something nice to say – remember the interview is about you and your past performance
  • Wait for the employer to bring up the topic of wages, hours and holidays.  Only 15% of employers surveyed thought the interview was the right time for the candidate to raise the topic of salaries and benefits, while 39% thought is was the right time for the interviewer to raise the subject
  • State your interest for the position and organization with enthusiasm
  • Remember to thank the interviewer for their time and politely ask if you can follow up with them in a few days on the status of your application

After the Interview

  • Send a brief thank you note.  Mention some of the positive things you spoke about at the interview.  50% of hiring managers think email is the best way for a candidate to send a thank you note after the interview
  • Follow up with a phone call if you are not contacted within a week of the committed time