As recruiters, we hear about all the “Worst Interviews EVER!” Here are 10 common mistakes and how you can avoid falling into the same traps.
1. Forgetting to smile!
Sounds like an easy thing to do, but so many people get caught up with nerves they forget to smile. Take a deep breath, relax and smile! The interview is going to go great!
2. Not bringing a resume.
Bring a resume to every interview. Just because you applied does not mean they will have a copy with them. Some interviewers use this as a test to see if you come prepared, so bring at least 5-6 copies in case you meet a lot of people.
3. Do your homework!
We have heard stories candidates who asked, “So what does the company do?” The interview usually does not go much longer. Research the company before you go for an interview. The company website, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and a Google search are great places to look. Learn about the company history, mission, products or services, culture, and what they are all about.
Tyler has been with DAVIS Companies for five years and is the recruiting manager of our engineering division. He went to Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, where he played rugby. He spends the weekends hiking with his dog Cooper, kayaking the Charles, and grilling.
4. Not asking questions.
Now that you’ve done your homework, prepare questions for each person you will meet. Companies want to see if you are excited about them and if you want to learn. An interview is your chance to evaluate the company, as much as they are evaluating you!
5. Avoiding answering questions.
When you get asked a question, take a second to pause and think out your answer. One of the biggest frustrations of interviewers is when a candidate gives a one-word answer or goes on an irrelevant rant or a roundabout answer. Make answers clear and concise.
6. Talking bad about previous employers or manager.
Your past employer or boss may very well be the reason you are looking for a job, but one of the worst mistakes you can make is talking bad about a previous employer. It can be a very dangerous slope and in the end, your negative comments may make you look bad. Keep your reasons for looking positive, future-focused, and about the opportunity at the new company!
7. Put on a clean shirt!
Appearance is a big part of the first impression. What you wear can give the interviewer an instant impression. Not every company expects a suit and tie, so do some research and try to figure out what the appropriate clothing would be. It never hurts to be overdressed. No matter what job you are going for, sweatpants are never acceptable. You don’t want to appear careless, smell or look dirty in the interview.
8. Not being professional.
Sometimes people get way too comfortable when interviewing! One candidate was recently turned down for putting his legs up on the table and arms up behind his head. Another candidate was found lying on the couches in the lobby while waiting for the interviewer to arrive. When I said relax before, I didn’t mean too relaxed! Sit up straight, be ready and attentive.
Language is another key. Do not swear. Even a little slip could turn a manager away.
9. Arriving late!
Be on time. Leave with plenty of time to spare in case you hit traffic or get lost. Interviewers do not want to wait for you to arrive.
When you are getting close, be very careful driving as you approach the parking lot. I once cut a car off to get into a parking lot for an interview. The hiring manager asked me what kind of car I drove and smiled when I told her. She was the one I had cut off! I did not get that job.
10. Not sending a thank you email
A thank you note is a great chance to stay front of mind and continue to leave a positive impression on the interview team. Email has taken over as the preferred way to send a thank you, so you can send it that night or next day.
Interviewing is not easy! Take plenty of time to practice and prepare. For more advice, tips and help, follow our DAVIS Companies blog “Off the Cuff.” ◾