Whether you are a recent college graduate or back on the job hunt after several years in the field, interviewing for a position can be a daunting experience. First off, congratulate yourself on having snagged an interview. In this economy, getting an interview is half the battle when it comes to finding a job. Now that you have the company’s interest, make sure you can deliver. As you gear up for the big day, try to avoid these 5 behaviors that will eliminate your chances for a second interview or even a job offer.
1. Avoid looking at your watch or cell phone during the interview. In fact, it’s probably best to leave your favorite electronic device in your car while you are meeting with potential employers. If you decide you must bring it in, make sure you set it to silent (not vibrate) and store it somewhere out of sight.
2. Never give interviewers a blank stare when asked what questions you have about the job or company. This indicates that you have not adequately familiarized yourself with the company/position or you’re just not that interested. Employers expect you to have (intelligent) questions about your potential future job.
3. Don’t dress inappropriately for the interview. While it’s common sense that you shouldn’t wear jeans and a T-shirt, research the company to see what type of dress best suits the corporate environment. Different companies/industries may have different standards when it comes to dress. I have heard several stories of people being “over-dressed,” indicating they may not fit in with the corporate culture. While this is probably the minority, it is definitely something to research when you are preparing for your interview.
4. Avoid arriving at the interview without examples of your work. Employers interview more than one candidate for the position, so it is important to make yourself stand out from the competition. Bring a portfolio of your work that is most relevant to the position for which you are applying and highlights your skills.
5. Don’t just reiterate your resume. If you have been asked to come in for an interview, assume employers are familiar with your resume and qualifications. The interview is a chance for you to expand on this and to let them get to know you a bit better to determine if you are a fit for their company. Make sure to use this opportunity as a chance to highlight some of the skills/experiences you have had that can’t be inferred from a resume.
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