5 Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid when Applying for a Position

Being a small business owner/landlord has given me an extensive opportunity to talk with other managers, to interview people about their qualifications, and to learn of the mistakes made in job interviews. It’s safe to say that most job seekers usually know enough about the interviewing process to learn information about the company, show up on time for the job interview, and come prepared with a résumé, but there are a few other tricks of the trade. Although avoiding the following gaffes might seem like common sense, they are actual goofs that people make. To that end, here are 5 job interview mistakes to avoid.

Don’t wear your weekend clothes, and do pop a breath mint (not gum) into your mouth. Sure, old jeans and athletic shoes might be your favorite attire, but don’t wear that when going for a job interview. Make sure your clothing/appearance is appropriate for the prospective job. You might be able to get away with construction boots, nice jeans, and a beard if you’re applying for a job as a carpenter at a work site, but that won’t fly if you’re applying for an office position with IBM. Make sure that your clothing is conservative (or at least appropriate), clean, and well-pressed. Before you step out of the car, pop in a breath mint, check your hair, make sure your face isn’t smudged, and then chew the breath mint up so you’re not talking with food in your mouth.

Leave the food and bottled water in the car. It’s very possible that time flew by; you missed lunch and so grabbed a burger, fries, and a bottled water on your way to the job interview. No one begrudges that. But, an interviewer does begrudge food being brought into his office, and then, seeing half of it left on the chair as crumbs. If you have to eat right before the interview, don’t take it in with you … and that goes for the bottled water, too.

Stand up straight … and while you’re at it, turn off the cell phone. Your posture and demeanor convey a lot. Slouching in the chair or offering a wimpy handshake says volumes about attitude and confidence. No manager wants to hire an individual who lacks confidence, not to mention one who’s lacking good, old-fashioned manners. And nothing says bad manners like a cell phone ringing in the middle of the conversation, so remember to turn it off.

Don’t pad your qualifications and do spell check the résumé. Most people would never consider lying outright at a job interview. However, it is tempting to over exaggerate in order to gain points, and it’s done quite often. It’s seldom that a business doesn’t check references, though, and the discovery that a prospective employee padded his résumé will get him bounced right out the door-even if he’s already been hired by the firm. Before you go for that interview, list your qualifications on the résumé, be sure to spell check it, and then, let your skills stand on their own merits.

Never do a Yahoo search during a phone interview. In today’s fast paced world, phone interviews done by conference call are becoming common place. If that occurs, don’t be tempted to search Yahoo! when you don’t know the answer to an interview question. An interviewee loses all validity if he says he knows how to do something, yet the manager can tell from his voice that he’s stalling, and then hears him frantically typing on his keyboard. No matter how tempting it is, keep your laptop closed and simply say you don’t know the answer but can find it.

Now that you know the 5 interview mistakes to avoid, go ahead and shine up your shoes, pop in a breath mint, and head out with your résumé to take the business world by storm.

More articles by this author:
The Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Renting a Property
5 Questions Not to Ask When Checking Out a Rental Property
How to Use Color and Background Pattern to Increase Website Traffic

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