Recently I have been holding interviews for candidates to add to my team and have been shocked at the amount of basic Interview Mistakes I am seeing. These simple mistakes can impact a candidate’s ability to impress. A few months ago I wrote an article on Interview Skills that was well received but still the amount of interview mistakes made me want to update my findings. I hope these tips will help.
- Resume/ Cover Letter
Please make sure that your resume is formatted correctly. Invest in getting it done professionally. This is your first impression to a company. If it looks bad or it is hard to read then you are going to be skipped. Make sure your cover letter explains in a few short sentences how you are right for the job. Cut out the “catch phrases” like hard working, professional, enthusiastic etc. Those are expected. I even had one person say they were “clean”. Really? Focus on what makes you special.
- Right Job Qualifications
I mentioned in the previous article that many job descriptions have certain necessary qualifications. When I posted for an inside sales position, I requested 2 years of sales experience. Yet I received many applications that had ZERO sales experience. When I questioned a candidate as to why they submitted their resume, they said they were using a firm to send out resumes. I explained that this company may just be sending their resume out to any open job to fulfill their quota. I then explained how this looks bad on them as the candidate. Make sure that if you are using a recruiting firm that you are very clear that they are sending you out for jobs you can be hired for.
- Being available for interview
I understand that if you are currently employed you may have limited options for being available. This should be something that is explained in your cover letter. If I look at your resume and the impression I get is that you are currently not working, I feel you should be available when the company wants to interview you. Within reason. If you want the job, then make all efforts to be open to the interview schedule the company offers.
- Researching the company
This is still my biggest pet peeve. It is one of the first questions I ask a candidate. If they cannot tell me what my company does in detail, along with some questions about my business then I will not continue with the interview. I stop right there. It is easy to find out about companies today online through their website, searching their name and using social networks. Do your research. It will give the interviewer the feeling that you are committed to working hard and self-motivated. One of the best questions I was asked is why our company seemed to be so heavy in one vertical and our future plans to expand. I appreciated this line of questioning because they had done their homework.
- Selling yourself for the job
There are many ways you may be asked why you feel you are right for the job. What a candidate needs to explain is how past experience has prepared them for this job. For instance if it is a management role, give an example of how you led a team on a project or give an example of how something was a challenge, how you overcame that challenge and how you were given more responsibility. Don’t wait for the interviewer to draw this out of you.
- Bonus Mistake: Wrong questions to ask interviewer.
I am always stunned at what some people focus on in the interview. Many these questions are valid at the right time but not within the first 10 or 15 minutes of the interview. Remember what you focus on is what the interviewer feels is important to you. (These are real questions I am asked.)
- How many days off do I get?
- What is my career path here?
- How soon till I get a raise or review?
- When is my first paycheck?
- What if I have to leave early?
- How long do I get for lunch?
- Do I have to punch in?
- How many hours a week do I have to work?
- How early/late do I have to be here?
- Will the company make me work extra on weekends or nights?
Once you have either stopped laughing or closed your mouth from amazement, I hope you will use these tips to land the right job for you. Competition for good jobs is very high. Being prepared will help you gain an advantage over those who are not willing to do the right work.
If I can be of service or you would like to bounce ideas around feel free to reach out to me. I will be more than willing to help.
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