Most people think, “If I can just get a meeting, an interview and in-person meet and greet and I know I will ace it!” Well, for some of you that might be the case, but for a vast majority of you, please read the fine print. Just because you are lucky enough to get a meeting with a potential employer, recruiter or agency does not mean that you are in a position to expect that anyone is going to think more of you than you may imagine just because you showed up.
You’ve got to do more to impress the masses these days but it does not take a lot. Common sense, simple courtesy and an ability to make an impression will drive how successful you are when it comes to not only the interview but everything you say and do in between you and the job offer you are wanting.
So before you start patting yourself on the back for a job well done, here’s a few common mistakes that people make that really have an impact on how well the other side of the desk perceives you as a viable employee or not.
1- Show up on EARLY. It’s not enough to be on time but it’s better if you show up a bit early. Use the time wisely, like making a stop to the restroom to freshen up, get your business card handy and resume together, turn off your cell phones, iPad, etc., fill out an application if the employer still uses hard copy. Make sure you are not rushing and give yourself time to relax and get centered and stay focused on the interview. Be present and don’t be distracted by needing to put money in the meter or anything else that you feel harried about.
2- Do your HOMEWORK. Make sure you know something about the company but also about the PERSON you are interviewing before you show up. LinkedIn, Google, Facebook are ways for you to learn a little something about the person who is interviewing you. Remember interviewing is a two-way street if you take the time to get to know the person’s background who is making the hiring decision, the more leverage you give yourself over the other candidates.
3- Stop Talking & LISTEN. Getting nervous is a given but coming prepared BEFORE the interview with some questions will help you stop chattering about yourself and pause enough to let the other person get a word in. Asking questions assures you that you will have to stop talking and let the other person answer as well as showing your interest level in the company.
4- Stop COMPLAINING about your current boss, company, low compensation, challenging work, co-workers or your future under ANY circumstances is a turn-off. Even a skilled recruiter will see if you are the type who might be negative and ask you a seemingly innocent question only to get you on a rant about what you don’t like at your current job vs. what you do like. Don’t fall into the trap. Keep positive no matter how miserable things actually are because a prospective employer does not want to take a chance on hiring a negative person.
5- Don’t forget to FOLLOW UP. Make sure you ask for a business card, send a thank you email or note and ask about next steps all to help keep the dialogue and connection open. Some people leave and call the recruiter and say, “Do you have the person’s email I forgot to get a business card.” Be diligent and mindful of your follow up skills because once you’re out the door you are out of sight-out of mind.
These are a few simple things to keep in mind when you are so excited about getting an interview that all your common sense goes out the window and you forget the basics. Keep it simple and you should not only ace the interview but get a job offer as well!