10 Things You Can Do In An Interview To Blow Your Chances At A Job
When you’ve applied for a job and been selected for an interview, it’s pretty exciting. Chances are, you’ve put a lot of work into writing your cover letter, resume, and application, and all that work has paid off—for now. Your next step is to wow the interviewer and be moved on to the next stage in the process. If you’re nervous about your interview, or wondering what you should (and shouldn’t) say, these tips are for you.
This year, we hired two new team members, Gabby and Meredith. It was a long, long journey to find both of them, but it was well worth the time and effort because they are fabulous teammates. But during our search, we came across some not-so-fabulous applicants. There are lots of things you can do to blow your chances at a job, but the 10 things we’ve listed below stuck out the most.
10 Things That Will Blow Your Chances At A Job
1. Grammatical and spelling errors.
Everyone occasionally uses the wrong “their,” misplaces a comma, or makes a spelling error. But when you’re communicating with your interviewer—even if it’s just to confirm your interview or change the time—spelling and grammatical errors look pretty sloppy. It takes just a couple seconds to look over what you’ve written and make sure it’s free of errors. Trust us—it’s well worth your time.
2. Leading with your personal goals.
Maybe you are sick of commuting and want to work from home, or you are looking to take the next step in your career. Even if those things are true, sharing your self-focused reasons for applying for a job screams that you’re just looking for something to benefit you. Instead, explain how your skills and experiences will help the company accomplish their goals.
3. Not learning about the company.
If you express interest in working for a company yet take zero time to learn about what that company does, what the culture is like, or what other people do there, it shows just how interested you are in getting the job and joining the company—as in, you’re not interested. Even if you’ve never worked in the industry before, show that you’ve taken the time to find out what the company does and what it is focuses on. After all, it’s what you’ll be focusing on if you get the job you’re applying for!
4. Talking about your other options.
We get it—when you’re looking for and need a new job, it’s expected that you’ll respond to multiple job postings. And while it’s one thing to mention to your interviewer that you’re waiting to hear back about some other opportunities, it’s completely different to brag that you’ve been selected for other interviews or are waiting to receive job offers. Waving it in your interviewer’s face won’t, in fact, make them nervous about losing you as a potential employee. Instead, it will probably motivate them to disqualify you from the hiring process.
5. Apologizing or doubting yourself.
Interviews can be nerve wracking, so it’s completely understandable to be nervous or stumble a bit when you answer a question. But when you finish by saying, “That was probably a bad answer,” or “I don’t know if I really answered your question,” you’re practically inviting skepticism about your answer. Even if you trip over an answer, be confident. Look the interviewer squarely in the eye, finish with a smile, and exude confidence.
6. Not taking care in your appearance.
Make no mistake—interviewers pay careful attention to what you’re wearing. Someone once told me to always dress a step up from the person who will be interviewing you, and I think that is a good rule of thumb.
7. Laughing too much.
Laughing at a joke or an appropriate moment is fine. But if you’re laughing after every question, the interviewer will question whether you’d do the same thing during client interactions.
8. Not having any thoughtful questions prepared.
Many times, interviewers conclude their interviews by asking the applicant if they have any questions. There’s a big difference between those who ask questions about things like benefits and flexible scheduling, and those who ask thoughtful questions like, “What is the most difficult part of working for your company?” or “What kinds of processes do you go through when working with your clients?” Thoughtful questions show that you’ve taken time to research the company, the position, and industry. It may take a little time to do the research and come up with some thoughtful questions, but take the time to do it—it sets you apart from other applicants.
9. Showing frustration or annoyance over unexpected issues.
Sometimes, your interview may not begin exactly on time. If it’s a virtual interview, the video feed may be glitchy or lagging. Or, something else may require the immediate attention of your interviewer in the middle of your interview. While these things obviously aren’t ideal, being gracious in moments like these shows a lot about your character.
10. Making the interviewer feel awkward.
Some people love talking with new people, and others don’t. And that’s OK! But even if you’re not one to get excited about an interview, it’s still your responsibility to show that you can communicate well with people you’ve never met and make them feel comfortable. If you’re able to make an interview feel like a two-way conversation rather than a Q&A, it shows a great deal about your confidence and communication skills.
Two Things To Do In An Interview
That was a lot of negatives—I know! So now if you’re wondering what you should do in an interview, I think it all boils down to just two things:
- Know and share how your skills and experiences will specifically benefit the company.
- Be professional, friendly, and confident.
If you find yourself looking for a new job in 2017, I hope these tips will help you land that new job!