Everyone gets nervous before a job interview, especially when you’re interviewing for your dream job and you need to make a good first impression. Preparing for the interview can help keep your nerves in check, and can help ensure you get a leg up on the competition. While it’s certainly a good idea to go over potential interview questions and come up with some great responses, you might also benefit from thinking about what could go wrong.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to make mistakes during an interview – but if you know ahead of time what some of the more common blunders are, you’ll be better able to avoid these errors during your own interview.
- Inappropriate attire.
It’s important to dress for the job you want. While this may vary slightly depending on the size and style of the company you’re applying with, you should always look well-dressed and put together so that you make a solid first impression. Things to avoid include low-necklines, too much fragrance, inappropriate footwear, and anything too casual, like a summery dress or shorts.
- Showing up late.
Not only does this indicate to a potential employer that you have poor time management skills, it also suggests a lack of respect – for the company, for the position, and even for the interviewer who is wasting time waiting for you. Be prepared for the unexpected and leave the house early to ensure that you can be there on time.
- Being uninformed.
If you show up for an interview without some basic knowledge about the company and what your position would involve, it gives potential employers the impression that you’re not interested in the job and what you could bring to their business. Take some time before the interview to look at the company’s website – especially their mission statement – so you can clearly explain how you will fit in.
This also includes not knowing enough about your own work history. If you’re not solid on the facts you’ve detailed on your resume, it can seem like the information you provided is false. Go over your resume before meeting with a potential employer to accurately recall your prior work experiences, including the dates and locations of your past positions.
- Excessive talking.
When people get nervous, they can start to talk… and talk, and talk, and talk. By spending some time preparing potential answers ahead of time, you can avoid falling into the trap of rambling on without making a solid point. Interviewers don’t need to hear your life story – they want short, concise answers that give them the information they need to make a decision about your future with their company.
- Criticizing past employers.
This can suggest to potential employers that you might not handle conflicts in an effective, mature way – and that you might badmouth their company and employees in the same way. Instead, if you’re asked questions around why you left your last position, or how you handle conflicts with co-workers, try to focus on the positives and explain how you have used past issues as a way to learn and grow.