We have been in the recruitment sector for quite a while, and we know that there isn’t anything much worse for a candidate than hearing the words “Thank you for coming in” at the end of an interview. It is very hard, even though we shouldn’t, not to assume that that they really mean, “thanks, but you didn’t get the job”.
Of course, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised, and the offer comes in anyway, but usually you know, don’t you? You have that sort of sinking feeling that the interview didn’t go well.
What usually happens next is the rejection letter arrives, and we spend hours going over and over what we could have done better. If you treat a difficult interview as a learning experience, you can use it to help with the next one. However, sometimes you just don’t know where to start when you are analysing why this one got away, and often a rejection can come down to the smallest thing.
So, here are five big mistakes you should avoid.
- Being over or under confident. There is a fine line between being a confident and capable person and being overbearing and arrogant. In the same way being polite and personable are fine but try not to drop into appearing unsure of yourself or hesitant. Employers are looking for you to be confident about yourself and your skills, but open and engaged with learning new things.
- Dress right for the interview. This doesn’t always mean suited up or in a brand new shirt and tie. It is important that you are comfortable in the interview almost as much as you need to be well presented. Try to get yourself an ‘interview outfit’ together perhaps. One that is smart but has comfortable shoes and clothes. If you are unsure how formal the interview will be, always play safe and look your best.
- Remember your body language. Look people in the eye, give a firm but not crushing handshake, and look attentive. If you naturally slouch, wave your arms or fidget, as silly as it will feel, practice not doing it by watching yourself in the mirror. Oh and no mumbling! Make sure you can be heard.
- Never, ever, lie or bluff. This is the first rule of interviews. It is tempting when facing a question you don’t know the answer too, or a question about a skill you don’t have, to try to bluff your way through it or make up a little white lie. Just don’t do it, it rarely works. It’s much better to admit you don’t know.
- Don’t forget to do your research, and make sure you ask questions. Potential employers love it when you know something about them, and you have good questions to ask. Take some time before the interview to really get to know the company. Look them up on social media. Make sure you what their biggest product is. Know about their competitors. This is a simple thing you can do that will really make you seem engaged with the company. Another effect of this is that you will encourage them to talk about the business themselves, and that is something most managers will like to do because they will be proud of where they work.
In the end, a few small changes like these can make the experience of interviewing you a memorable and pleasant one for the interviewer. It may just be the small nudge to change that last sentence to “Thanks for coming in, I look forward to speaking again soon.”