5 Ways to Ruin an Interview Without Being Late

October 19, 2016

By Jessica Ondo, Recruiter, Direct Consulting Associates

Talking too much

Interviews are two sided, an opportunity for the employer to asses potential candidates and for potential candidates to asses potential employers.  Quite often, the positive feedback we receive from candidates is due to their having just spent an hour or two sharing their life story.  Usually, the feedback from the employers on the same candidates results in a thumbs down.

The golden rule for an interview for all candidates is to find a way to speak no more than 40% of the time.  Be aware of your chattiness, your audience, and be prepared with intelligent talking points to prevent a rambling interview.

Attire

Dress one or two steps above your title.  If you are interviewing for a manager or director role, you might be required to dress business casual with an occasional tie.  For your interview, wear a tie and a jacket!  If you are interviewing for an entry level role fresh out of college, dress sharp!  While a suit and tie might be overdoing, it is always a good idea to be over dressed than under.  Underdressing yields an aura of overconfidence and often arrogance.

One to two times a month, we receive less than flattering feedback on candidate’s attire.  Be sure to dress up a step or two to ensure you dodge this bullet!

Not being prepared

Research the company! When asked, “So what do you know about ABC Company?” PLEASE……..don’t answer, “Well, I know a little bit, but can you tell me more about the organization?”  This is the quickest way to find oneself fighting an uphill battle.  On the other hand, answering the question with the following would show your vested interest in the opportunity, “I’ve had an opportunity to do quite a bit of research on your website, LinkedIn, and industry related newsletters.  I found it interesting how philanthropic your group is and your involvement in XYZ charities.  Furthermore, some of the changes and your top initiatives for the next year seem exciting.”  Enough said.

Finally, have questions prepared to ask about the company, the team, what makes people stay/leave and remember to keep all questions open ended.  This will allow the interviewee to gain the most insight about the opportunity.

Complaining about former employers

RED FLAGS!  No hiring manager wants to hear a sob story (right or wrong) about why you’ve been mistreated, lied to, and your career trajectory has been stunted.  Of course, things are certain to change, you’ve just had bad luck for the last 30 years right?  Not so much!  Talking negatively about previous bosses, employers, and colleagues will not give the hiring manager the feeling that you are willing to take on challenges, fight battles with colleagues, and overcome obstacles to better the organization.

It is okay to discuss reasons you are exploring opportunities but knocking your previous jobs is never a good idea.

Hygiene

Be on your “A” game!  Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Regardless of your daily habits, be showered, don’t overdo the cologne/perfume, and be well groomed.  Who knows, you might walk in the door and interview with a bunch of folks looking like cavemen/women in which case your habits can change AFTER you get the job.  However, always err on the side of caution and recognize the person interviewing for the job will be viewed on a different level until they get hired and become productive.