From applicant tracking systems to appropriate résumés, there are more than enough hurdles to overcome before making it to the interview in a job search. However, this may feel like the greatest challenge for some job seekers, as many have come out of interviews without the slightest clue how it went.
CareerBuilder surveyed hiring managers to find out what’s going on in job interviews and why a promising candidate for a job may not get picked. Six major factors were a part of why interviews go badly for some, and while these mistakes may not seem substantial on their own, the job market is still too competitive to allow these simple errors. Learn from these six ways to kill your chances in the interview and how to avoid certain death.
When asked to identify the top detrimental mistakes in job interviews, hiring managers reported:
Mistake No. 1: Appearing disinterested is a top turnoff, according to 62 percentof employers.
Tip: Body language and how you respond to the interviewer’s questions may be sending a different message than what you mean. Be attentive during the interview, sit up straight and make eye contact with your interviewer. Also take your time responding to give thoughtful answers that will make it clear you’re interested.
Mistake No. 2: Answering a cell phone or texting – 60 percent
Tip: As soon as you enter the company’s building or the site for your interview, turn your phone off and put it away. While it may be tempting to use your phone while you’re waiting or leave it on silent, don’t risk your chances of getting the job because you wanted to check your phone. Give your attention to the interview and focus.
Mistake No. 3: Dressing inappropriately – 60 percent
Tip: While what you wear on the job will vary by industry and company, the standard and most appropriate look for a job interview is a business suit or a version of “business casual,” a collared shirt and dress pants. You should look and feel professional so both you and the interviewer can focus on your answers and not your clothing.
Mistake No. 4: Talking negatively about a current or previous employer – 58 percent
Tip: Interview answers walk a fine line between appreciating your past employers and making it clear that this job opportunity is preferable. Stay positive during your interview and concentrate on how your past roles and employers have prepared you for this current role, and if you do have a negative experience, keep your answer short and end on a positive, like what you learned and have done better since.
Mistake No. 5: Failure to make eye contact (72 percent) or smile (42 percent), bad posture (38 percent) and a weak handshake (28 percent)
Tip: While a certain amount of stress is understandable for an interview, do your best to appear confident and friendly by preparing for your interview and practicing your answers ahead of time. When you feel adequately prepared, your confidence and smart answers will wow the hiring manager.
Mistake No. 6: Not providing specific examples – 34 percent
Tip: When answering your interviewer’s questions, remember that they’re trying to make a smart business decision about who to hire. While you may feel that you’re the most creative, capable and task-oriented candidate, it’s better to provide quantifiable proof of your worth, like how much new business you brought in or the top ways you saved your company money.
What else can job seekers do to prepare for interviews? “A job interview can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences out there, so it’s important to plan and practice,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Have a friend run through a mock interview with you, asking questions you think will come up and some curve balls you’re not expecting. Thoroughly research the company ahead of time and draft responses that incorporate your accomplishments. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to run into mishaps.”