We’ve all had those interviews that have gone embarrassingly wrong. You might have stumbled while talking, laughed a little too loud, or let it slip that you hated your previous boss. Here is a list of small errors to avoid during an interview. I have learned many of these through personal experience, and hearing the experiences of others.
1. If the interviewer offers you a drink, take water NOT coffee. The last thing you need is for a huge coffee stain to join in on the interview. Plus, if they give you a cookie with the coffee, the crumbs will spill everywhere, and next thing you know, you can’t answer the questions correctly because you are distracted by the mess on your clothes.
2. DO NOT ever try to make small talk in your second language. It is awfully humiliating to have your interviewer correct your grammar when you are commenting on the beautiful view. Best option when choosing which language to speak: take the cue from your interviewer. Chances are, they will test you on the second language listed on your CV anyway.
3. DO NOT look out the window when talking to the interview, no matter how therapeutic it seems when you are nervous.
4. ALWAYS know the name of your interviewer. That way you can avoid saying to the person at the reception “Oh I forgot, it’s something like….”
5. ALWAYS dress appropriately for the type of job you are applying for. Do not wear Converses to an interview at a five star hotel. I know it sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the stuff people think they can get away with.
6. Your first question for your interviewer should NOT be “Where can I park my car?” I once met a girl who did this, and she only got interviewed for 10 minutes before getting rejected a week later.
7. DO find a healthy balance between professional and friendly. If your interviewer is taking you for a tour of the building, feel free to ask them as many questions as you want about the company. Wait, here’s the catch: you want to avoid questions that you would only need to know if you worked there. This makes you come off as cocky because you think you already have the job. Honestly, if you run out of general questions about the company, ask the interviewer how long they have worked there for. It might start up an interesting conversation, but don’t get to engrossed in it. Remember, they are not your friend now, and most certainly won’t be if they become your boss.
8. Ladies: DO NOT cross your legs if you are wearing a skirt! If it rides up, you will be put in an awkward position of needing to pull it down in front of your interviewer. There are some details they don’t need to know.
9. DO NOT make a joke, no matter how funny it sounds in your head. Once you actually work there, you will be given a chance to display your brilliant sense of humour. But during the interview? Not really the right time.
10. ALWAYS try to tell the interviewer what they want to hear. There is a big difference between this and lying. Telling them what they want to hear is like, if they ask you if you are free on the weekends to work, your answer should be yes. They don’t want to hear that Saturday night is movie night for you and your significant other, they want to know that you care about the job. The only exception is if you are applying for a part time job, and they know prior to your interview that you can only work a certain amount of days because you have previous commitments.