I was once interviewing a recent college graduate when his cellphone rang. Instead of apologizing and silencing the call, the young man held up a finger to me, answered the call, and proceeded to book an interview for another job with the woman on the other end. Needless to say, I ended the interview right there and didn’t offer him a job.
While that’s a pretty obvious interviewing faux pas, you’d be surprised how many otherwise intelligent people do silly things during an interview. Here are seven other mistakes you must avoid during a job interview:
Not Doing Pre-Interview Research
Whether the company you are interviewing with makes furniture or rocket engine fuel, familiarize yourself with them beforehand. You will appear uninformed and ill prepared if you know nothing about the company.
Not Talking Enough
If you’re not fully answering questions, seem too distracted, or are too nervous to speak, you may find your interview cut short because the potential employer is frustrated by your inability to communicate. Answer questions fully and as honestly as possible.
Lying About Your Past
Many people who have been laid off try to gloss over that fact on their resumes, only to be asked directly about the two-year gap in their resume during the interview. If you’ve been laid off, be honest about it. Otherwise, your employer will undoubtedly find out your lie and won’t trust you enough to hire you.
Bad-Mouthing a Prior Boss
Don’t fall into the trap of saying bad things about a boss you used to work for, even if he made Darth Vader look like a pretty good guy. As mentioned above, while you don’t want to lie, you also want to avoid offering specific critiques of his terrible management style. Bad-mouthers tend to do the same thing no matter what job they’re at, and that reflects poorly on your character.
Simply put, if I can see above your knee (women) or see your boxers (men), there’s no way you’re getting this job.
Being Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”
Sometimes an interviewer will toss out an outrageous question just to see how the person reacts. As long as you make it clear that you’d talk to your boss about how to handle it, it’s okay to say that you’re not sure what you’d do in a specific situation.
Acting Overly Familiar
Remember that you are on a job interview, not chatting with a friend. Remain formal, address your interviewer as Mr. or Ms. (or sir or ma’am), and don’t talk about anything you wouldn’t share with your grandmother. Even if you discover you and your interviewer were in the same fraternity in college, you don’t have the job yet, so don’t reminisce about that kegger you threw senior year!
Michelle is a blogger and writer who currently freelances for a company that makes mission-style furniture. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. Follow her on Google+.
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Good luck in your search.