For some strange reason, I seem to love writing on this very subject. I did write over Pinal’s Blog on what are my thoughts on preparing resume, preparing for interviews and a lot more. That is quite a long post that talks about the things one need to take care and mostly takes a call from a Do’s – this post is about Don’t that I felt are equally important as one prepares for interviews. What are some of the Don’t that come to your mind? Having taken interviews, do you see potential candidates making these common mistakes? How paranoid are organizations when it comes to evaluating candidates on these dimensions?
These are my top 8 Don’t I see folks making mistake:
1. Don’t Dress Casually
This can be a double edged sword. Being casual in your approach and wearing Jeans with T-Shirt can be a dooms call for most companies. Try to be neutral and dress professionally, don’t try to overdo it too. You don’t want to be seen as a odd man out. The first impression needs to be the best.
Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire – Dan Zevin
2. Don’t badmouth current employer
This is a tough one – a lot of times you will be quizzed on why you want to leave the current employer. The industry is really small, be careful not to badmouth them. Doing so you are likely to reduce your chances of getting this job too. So be diplomatic and subtle in answering the same.
3. Talk just enough
Know your limits here. Too less can catch attention, at the same time talking too much and rambling on and on can also catch attention. Try to be crisp, to the point and try to answer the question asked.
4. Don’t Give wrong answers
There is no excuse to authentically giving an wrong answer :). I know you have no intention to give the wrong answer, if you are guessing – say it is your genuine guess and then explain your answer with your assumptions. Have seen people think it is a crime to say “I don’t know”. Well, in my personal opinion there is nothing wrong in saying that – but if you keep saying just that in your interview then you lost the plot anyways :).
Interviews are not interrogations, those must be your inner views.
5. Respect the interviewer
This is a critical step – acknowledge and give the respect the interviewer needs. As part of this, make sure to switch off your phone. Donot ever, never take calls when you are inside an interview. Even better, switch it off before you enter the room.
6. Not prepared
Be it presentation or interviews – there is no excuse for not being prepared. The first step is to know the company you are going to, what is the role, what can you expect, what is their culture, who will be interviewing, what is the company recent results, why you wanna join this company etc. I have seen candidates stare at me when we ask – “Tell me about yourself”. In such situations the interview ended even before it started.
You not only choose a job, you choose your manager too.
7. Be punctual
Donot ever be late to an interview. As I said before, it is better to be 15 minutes early than a minute late. It very much echo’s point 5 above – you do respect the time of the interviewer. Bring no excuses – period.
Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late – William Shakespeare
8. Not Following up
Your interview is not over as soon as you get out of the door. Make sure to follow up and thank the interviewer for the opportunity. Getting a job or not is secondary, try to make an impact on the people who interview you. If the folks think you are not the correct person for the position open, they might have you behind their mind for a future position for sure. So leave an lasting impact.
These are my top 8 Dont’s when attending an interview. Would love to hear your experiences and anecdotes.