Avoid These 6 Interview Faux Pas
We’ve been living in some times of major change, and people’s satisfaction, or lack thereof, with their employment is leading many to look for somewhere new. If you’re one of these people, sending out resumes, talking to recruiters, and searching job boards and company websites was likely part of your everyday life in the past few months. But now you’ve moved past that, and you’re actually meeting the people responsible for deciding whether you’re a fit for their company. Let’s ensure you make a good impression. Want to know what not to do?
1. Don’t be late
Do whatever you can do to make sure you’re on time. Get your clothing ready the night before, map out your route or make sure your video conferencing is working, and make sure your car has gas. This won’t just help you be on time—it will put you in a better mental state if you aren’t frazzled or stressed before this important conversation.
2. Don’t be negative about former jobs
When an interviewer asks why you’re looking for a new position, it can be tempting to vent your frustration about current or past roles. “It was a disorganized mess!” “There was no room for growth!” “I ended up doing the jobs of four other people after they left!” Don’t say any of those things.
Spend some time before the interview thinking, really thinking, about a positive way of talking about your positions and the companies you’ve worked for. Was it a startup, and you need something a little more structured? Say, “I love how much I’ve learned, and I’ve enjoyed having a variety of responsibilities, and through that process, I discovered I’m passionate about _____, and I’ve been looking for a position where I can build those skills even more.” If you felt stifled, you could say something like, “The environment is very structured, and I’m looking for a position where I can be more creative and think outside the box.”
3. Don’t discuss personal topics
You are a person who has a responsibilities and interests and goals outside of work. And something in that realm may be why you’re looking to move somewhere new. But now is not the time to discuss your personal life. Your kids, the parent you care for, an impending divorce—none of this is any of your interviewer’s business, and happily, they cannot legally ask. Keep it professional and once again, keep it positive.
4. Don’t check or play with your phone
It can feel like losing a limb, but put that phone away, and don’t check it again until you’re back in the elevator (if your interview was in person) or off the video call. Give the interviewer and the conversation you’re having your undivided attention. It’s respectful, but it will also help you. Getting distracted can make you lose your train of thought. And speaking of distraction…
5. Don’t be disengaged or uninterested
Did you sleep poorly? Is something in your personal life taking up your mental energy? Did you get lost driving to the interview location or have trouble signing into the call? Take a deep breath, let it all go, and focus on what’s happening right now. You’ve done your research beforehand, so you know about the company.
Did they recently acquire a new business? Are they growing rapidly? Did they post content about an exciting new partnership? Ask questions that show you’ve looked through their website. Express interest in the answers and ask any follow-ups that might come to mind. Lean into the excitement and enthusiasm that drew you to pursuing this position in the first place.
6. Don’t forget to follow up
You’re done, you’re done, you’re done! No, you’re not. Write that thank-you note! This is your chance to show appreciation, show you paid attention, showcase your strengths, and neutralize your weaknesses. Oh, and if you spoke with more than one person, make sure you send all of them an individual mail.