Your blast-out of resumés got a hit! You’re going on an interview. Here’s a quick guide to making sure you blow the interview and don’t get the job:
1 – Running late
If you want to strike out before you even step up to the plate, be late. Nothing shows your disrespect or disregard for the interviewer and their company than being late for your interview.
2 – Being rude to the receptionist or other employees
Okay, so you messed up on the first step and arrived on time. Your next opportunity to shut the door in your own face is to be rude or disrespectful to the receptionist, the interviewer’s secretary, or any other company employee you happen to meet. You’d be surprised how many managers ask the people who support them for their input on potential new employees.
3 – Thinking the interview is about landing the job
You may be going into this interview looking for a job, but the interviewer is not going into the interview looking to give you one.
The interviewer’s job is to identify the best possible resource for the position being filled. They are successful when the candidate they choose has the skills, fits in well with the team, is enthusiastic about creating success for the company, and brings lots of other positives to the company.
Hint: No interview is about you. It’s about what you can do for the hiring company, what you can contribute.
4 – Getting too familiar too quickly, ex: cursing or other inappropriate communications
Okay, so you showed up on time and were courteous to everyone. Here’s your next opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot. The interviewer may be “one of the guys” who is comfortable with foul language, but then again they may not be. Even if they slip and say something “off-color” your quickest path to being shown the door is to use that kind of communication.
5 – Asking questions about ‘What’s in it for me?’ Being focused on your needs rather than the needs of the hiring organization.
Great interviewers will want you to interview them, too. They’ll ask you questions like “what would you like to know about our company?” In doing this, they’re lobbing you a “getouttatown” softball. All you need to do is ask something like “What are the benefits?” or “How many weeks of vacation will I get?” and you can pretty much write off the rest of the interview.
Again, no interview is about you. You can find out all of those details later. If you want the job, ask about the job. What are the responsibilities? What resources are available to help you do the best possible job? How else can you make contributions to the company, and is that smiled upon? What do possible growth paths from this position look like? Again, if you want to blow the interview, avoid all these questions.
6 – Not being able to focus, ex: taking a phone call during an interview – yes, this happens
Even this deep into the interview process you can still squeak a loss out of this potential win. Just answer your phone when it rings. That will clearly show the interviewer that they are simply not all that important to you.
You might want to silence your phone before you head into the interview.
7 – Sharing far too much personal information that’s not relevant to the work
As we cruise into the home stretch of your interview, you may get very comfortable with the interviewer, or you may realize you really do want the job and become nervous. Many people start talking about themselves when they become nervous.
Don’t. You’re not there to make the interviewer your friend, and they are not looking to befriend you. They do want to learn more about you as a person, but stay away from the intimate details of your last breakup, or that guy at your last job you would have loved to punch out…
8 – Talking negatively about past employers, co-workers, etc., or being otherwise needy, who wants to hire someone high-maintenance?
Among interview failure techniques, there are few more effective than the “Sour Grapes” Strategy. You start venting your frustration with the people at the job you just left, or maybe the job before that. They never understood you. They picked on you. They undermined you.
You sound needy. You sound paranoid. Interviewers generally avoid paranoids who always seem to have a bad experience at work. The one thing all your sour grapes stories have in common… is you!
9 – Being unclear about yourself, your skills, abilities, and qualities, and demonstrating a general lack of confidence so the interviewer doesn’t think you can do the job.
Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Very good advice. Your resumé was the marketing that got you the interview, but you are there to sell you and what you can bring to the interviewer’s company. If you seem fidgety, uncertain, if you “think” you can do the things you are being asked to do, you are not the candidate they need. Another easy way out of the interview.
10 – Being a know it all that no one would want on their team
On the flip side of uncertainty, another way to make it easy for them to show you the door is to inform them how fortunate they are that you, wonderful you, are considering joining their poor, bereft little company. You will show them all the great insights and answers. You will solve all of their problems. How little they know compared to wonderful you.
Every interviewer has faced these. Interestingly, when the interviewer goes to show them out, they often begin begging for the job. They need the job. They can’t pay the rent without this job.
Both of these strategies are sure-fire ways to blow the interview.
Bottom Line –
Underneath all of these great ways to blow your interview lies lack of preparation. Just be careful not to get prepared at all and you’ll stand a much greater chance of leaving that interview as empty-handed as when you went in.
On the other hand, if you DON’T want to blow your interview, and really do want to stand an excellent chance of being the selected candidate, attend Acing the Interview.