Interview Mistakes that are Deal Breakers

Leveraging Your Past for Future Success with Good Interview Habits. 

Gallup Poll did extensive research whereby they interviewed hiring manager about what they disliked concerning candidates.  Here are the top 10 things they said led to candidate failure.  
1.    Dressing inappropriately: 
Make sure you are well groomed and dressed appropriately for the interview.  Never assume Friday’s are casual or that no tie is the usual dress code.  Ladies, while fashionistas may demand bare legs as fashionable, it is not always seen as appropriate to arrive without some form of hosiery.  The best advice is to arrive in dress attire.  You can always down play it by saying you are being respectful of the organization and the interviewer’s you meet.  You can also ask the recruiter what is expected so you will be in the know before arriving. 

2.    Winging it:
 If you do not have time to do your homework on the company and job then you will come across as being ill prepared.  Take time to research the company, interviewers and job. Know the history, latest news, mission, values, stock price, etc.  Do not think you can ask questions that could be answered online and come across well.  Know and prepare. 

3.    No differentiation: 
One of the best marketing tools is differentiation.  Meaning… be different than your competition.  If you do not have something that will cause the interviewers to think of you in a better and unique way than the other candidates, you will be passed over.  Know your strengths, values, accomplishments and how you can solve the problems indicated in the job description.  If you can show some form of how you are different then you will stand out.  I like to tell my clients to be bold.  Bold means that you are clearly seen, you are different than others and you can’t be ignored.  

4.    Talking too much/too little: 
Once in the interview you need to keep your answers to 2 minutes or less.  Yes, timing is critical.  If you talk to long the listener will zone out and stop listening.  If you talk too little, then they cannot get a firm idea on how you can help them solve their issues.  It is a balancing act in too much/ too little.  But if you keep all answers to under 120 seconds, provide results and actions taken previously then you should have a good interview.  I also suggest practicing your answers before the interview to be sure you have them firmly prepared. 

5.    No interest shown: 
Having practice interviews are great, but if you do not show interest in the job, company or the person and team then you will not be considered for the job.  If all you want to do is have a practice session I suggest you call a friend, take on a coach or find a practice interview group to help.  Taking the opportunity away from an interested candidate is not the right thing to do.   It also causes bad habits to form so you will interview poorly when it really counts.  

6.    Lack of personality: 
The thing that people remember most is how you make them feel.  If you lack personality, then they will forget you.  If you show great personality, humor, likability then you will be remembered as such.   People only hire those they like.  So, show some personality, the real you and be likable. 

7.    Lying/fuzzy facts: 
One of the quickest way to end an interview is to let them catch you lying.  No one wants someone on the team that is untrustworthy.  Many mistakes and failures can be overlooked but lying is one of the biggest killers of careers.  So, get your facts straight and make them detailed.  In an interview you have to be detailed in your facts and be specific to lend credibility.  If you don’t know say you do not know.  If you have a different experience say so.  Just be wise in your answers, try to never say “no”, and give an example of similar experience...  But always be honest and factual.  

8.    In appropriate behavior: 
While it is ok to bring humor into the interview or have some fun with the interviewer it is not ok to have poor behavior.  Answering calls, sending texts, looking things up online, chewing gum, yelling or other bad behaviors are not welcome.  You are there to impress, not depress.  Watch yourself, your words and actions. You get one chance to make an impression and once formed it is nearly impossible to change the person’s opinion.  That opinion will form within 1/10 of a second per psychological testing so start out well and keep things appropriate. 

9.    No follow-up: 
Many times, the hiring manager or interviewer will get busy, have other priorities or emergencies happen which can cause delays in call backs.  If you do not follow-up you will be seen as uninterested in the job.  Don’t let it be a one-way street of communications with the company.  You have every right to call or send a message as a follow-up about  your interview.  Hopefully you know when the employer will be in contact for next steps, so the follow-up is just to reaffirm your interest, ask a question or send a note concerning something of interest about the company you have seen on TV or in print.  Either way, always keep in touch.  How?  Email messages, phone calls are typical.  You can send a business letter or note on a personalized stationary card.  Do Not send a Hallmark thank you card like you buy in the store or a greeting card.  These are for gifts from weddings, parties or birthdays.  Be professional at all times and use professional forms of communications.

10.    Not asking for the job: 
The number one differentiator is not asking for the job.  Rarely will someone take the initiative, courage and opportunity when talking to the hiring authority to ask for the job.  This does not mean you asked for next steps or when you will hear from the recruiter.  This means you ask for the job, where your desk will be, request an offer be extended today or make them an offer.  Be bold and brave in this action as it is a real game changer.  You will get one of two answers...  Yes, here is an offer or we are still in a decision mode.