Part of my job is hiring people. Over the past two decades I have sat on more interview committees than I care to count. I have also had the opportunity to watch a lot of folks respond to interview questions. I could tell some stories if I had time, but to keep things brief, here are five ways to assure you won’t get that job you really want.
1. Don’t do any research about the company: With today’s technology there is no excuse for anyone to go into an interview without all sorts of information about the company. You should know their mission statement, size, organizational chart, competitors, job description, and anything else that would help you in the interview. Not only is this information important for the interview but you may find after conducting this research that this company isn’t for you. Do your homework.
2. Don’t proofread your resume: This is a sure signal that your work quality should be questioned. Job applications and resumes should be the best work that you can produce. If you don’t care enough about submitting quality documents to get the job, you probably won’t do quality work after you get the job. Many interview committees throw away application materials with typos. You’ll never even get an interview with substandard application documents.
3. Ask about salary and vacation time during your first interview: This is always a good indication that you really aren’t motivated by the job but are simply looking for money and time off. The interview committee will even suspect that you will jump to a higher paying job at the first opportunity.
4. Tell the committee terrible things about your current employer: All interview committees know that if you say negative things about your current employer it’s only a matter of time until you say negative things about them.
5. Ramble on aimlessly when asked a question: When someone from the committee asks you a question, make eye contact with everyone on the committee and directly answer the question. Don’t go off on tangents. You should know some of the basic questions most committees will ask. Prepare for them and have polished responses.
This list could go on but I’ll stop here. Fixing just these five things will improve your chances of getting a job anywhere. Happy hunting!