Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview! That means you’re getting the job right? Well not so fast. Here’s my take on the 6 most common mistakes made by prospective employees.
1. Dressing Inappropriately
Believe it or not humans as a species are shallow and the way you dress does matter. An interview is a chance for you to showcase yourself so dress up for the occasion. When going to an interview you should overdress (within corporate boundaries). Even though the prospective workplace may suggest that a dress shirt and dress pants are the norm, remember you don’t work there yet! The most suitable interview attire for both men and women is a business suit, preferably grey or black with something to add a pop of colour such as a red tie or a colourful blouse. However it’s important to exercise caution, no loud prints or neon colors. You want hiring managers to remember you for your intelligence and suitability for the job not your bright pink shirt or zebra print socks!
2. No prep work
You need to have some background knowledge about the company you’ve applied to. This type of research is best conducted before you even submit your application so you will have a better idea about the work the company does and what type of culture it fosters. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to ask you what you know about the company or even go as far as asking what you last viewed on their website. An employable candidate will have a strong knowledge about the company, it’s founders, sectors and future directions. It’s also important to keep the role you’re applying for in mind when researching and look for information that might be applicable to the job itself.
3. Not bringing a copy of your resume to the interview
This may seem like a trivial issue but many times candidates assume that a hiring manager will have a print out of their resume ready. This may not always be the case as managers can interview many candidates for one position and may not always have everyone’s resume on hand. Bringing a copy of your resume to the interview demonstrates responsibility and conscientiousness. In fact it’s good to bring about 3 copies of your resume as managers may ask their colleagues or peers to sit in on the interview.
Although candidates should demonstrate a sense of self assurance and confidence there is such a thing as over-doing it. This is most commonly demonstrated in how candidates answer the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Candidates often list many strengths and say ” well weaknesses, I have none” thinking that’s what hiring managers want to hear. In fact it’s the exact opposite! By denying any faults you’re not only lying you’re coming off as being arrogant and self-absorbed. What managers are really looking for in asking this question is humility. Are you able to recognize faults within yourself and own up to them? Do you know what you’re not good at? Remember everyone has weaknesses when it comes to work you just have to determine what yours are, and which ones are suitable to mention. Use your discretion.
5. Not having a reference list ready
When going in to an interview it may be essential to bring a list of reference. Many people have the phrase “References available upon request” on their CVs but employers may not have the time to ask you individually for references. Some application forms even ask for references as part of the application process. That’s why it’s always beneficial to go in to an interview with a list of references that can attest to your experience and suitability for the job you’re being considered for. Remember to choose references that best highlight your suitability for the specific role you’re competing for; general references may not cut it in today’s competitive work environment.
6. Accepting phone calls during the interview
No phone calls during an interview may seem like a basic rule to some but there are folks who make this mistake quite often. I myself was faced with such a situation when conducting an interview. My candidate interrupted me to accept a call and never offered an apology. Needless to say she did not get the job. Taking or making calls during an interview is extremely rude and makes the interviewer feel like you’re not really interested in the position. It’s also a sign of disrespect for the interviewer and disregard for the position you’re vying for. You’re at the interview to sell yourself not to socialize on the phone so during the interview cell phones should be off or on silent; vibrate is not an option. In order to demonstrate your dedication to the prospective role you must give the interviewer your undivided attention