Where most candidates fall short in the interview process

After applying to a job and receiving a call from a recruiter or hiring manager, successful candidates reach the next coveted step: the interview. However, many candidates fall short in the interview process. Here are a few major blunders to avoid.

Interview candidates

Attribute: Forbes magazine

Coming in late or unprepared. A few months ago my company hired an entry level sales representative. He came in a few minutes late and asked if he could use one of our printers because he didn’t have a chance to print out his resume. Against my better judgment, a manager hired him. His performance aligns pretty well with his initial interview. He is one of the weakest, if not the weakest performer in his group. Your interview is your first impression and it’s important to make it a good one.

Dressing inappropriately. One of the recruiters in my group was hiring a tax manager for a major division of our group. The company paid for his flight from another state so that he could interview with our senior management. Imagine how surprised they were when he arrived to the interview in a wrinkled polo shirt and slacks. No matter if you are applying for a $30,000 a year job or a $200,000 a year job, you should always wear a suit or very neat corporate attire to an interview. Men should come in clean shaven with a short, neat haircut. Women with long hair should wear their hair tied back, women with shorter hair should style appropriately. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Certain startups, retail stores, and manual labor jobs may not require corporate attire on a regular basis, but it’s good to dress well for an interview. It means you take the interview seriously.

Asking the wrong questions. Avoid questions such as, “How much vacation do I get?” or “What is your company policy on short term disability?”  It is also a bad idea to ask about salary during your first interview, unless if the manager brings it up. Traditionally, salary is discussed only after an offer is made. The counterargument to this practice is that candidates don’t want to waste time on interviews if the salary might be too low. The way to combat this is to let the manager know how much you make and that you are interested in making more, not the same or less. Additionally, it is bad not to ask any questions at all. One great question to ask is, “Can you describe an ideal candidate for this position?” Managers love answering that one.

Overplaying and/or underplaying your qualifications. Don’t say you’re an expert in Microsoft Word if you don’t really know how to use it. Don’t pretend you have extensive experience in an area that you have only recently entered. Be honest with your recruiters and hiring managers, and they will have a better understanding of who you are and where you would fit in best. By overplaying what you know, you can be setting yourself up for disaster in the long run. At the same time, you do want to underscore what you’re good at. If a manager points out something negative or lacking in your resume, explain it and then add how well you’ve done in another area. Highlight your positive attributes and accomplishments.

Bad body language. Slouching, avoiding eye contact, chewing gum, slurring your words, crossing your legs awkwardly, and fidgeting can make you look very unprofessional and even bored during an interview. Stand and sit up straight, with your feet flat on the ground. Lay your hands on a table or on your lap if there is no table. Laying one hand on top of the other means you are open and friendly. Keeping your hands folded means you take your interviewer seriously. This is a sign of respect. Opening up your hands and showing your palms means you are telling the truth. This is a great way to show your eagerness to work well with others. For more tips on body language, it’s good to watch some videos on body language and observe others.

The interview process can be very stressful. It is finally your chance to meet with hiring managers who might give you the job you want. As much as you want them to like everything you’re saying, it’s important to show them how much you care. That’s why it’s crucial to come in prepared, well dressed, in a cheerful mood, ready to ask the right questions. Avoiding some of the common blunders and highlighting your strengths can get you one step closer to the job you’ve always wanted.

This guest post was written by freeresumebuilder.org