As a recruiter, I spend a lot of time interviewing candidates for positions – not just for my clients, but also for internal positions here at DAVIS. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours meeting with candidates and perfecting the art of interviewing. With that being said, I’ve seen blunders candidates make that can quickly kill the deal. Here’s a smattering of my top five least favorite interview mistakes.
1. Showing up without a resume
This is probably one of the worst oversights you can make when you walk into an interview. Don’t show up without your resume, and make sure that you have several copies with you. Don’t bring in a handwritten copy, don’t attempt to show me your resume on your cell phone and don’t try to email it to me when you walk in. And then definitely don’t ask me to print out a copy for you! If your printer happens to breakdown or run out of ink right before your interview then that’s certainly bad luck. But maybe you shouldn’t have waited until the last minute. Next time, be prepared and print everything out a day or two before. That way, if something unfortunate does happen, you have time to get to a friend’s house, an office supply store or the local library.
2. Wearing inappropriate attire
I know that times are changing, and I like to think of myself as someone who can change with the times. But proper interview attire, in my opinion, has not changed much over the last decade. Wear a business suit or something very comparable. It’s as easy as that. Don’t show up wearing skinny jeans, or a tank top, or shorts or flip flops. It’s just not a good idea. Business suits don’t have to cost a fortune – you can pick one up at discount shops for short money, and believe me, it will pay for itself.
Check out this video for more tips on how to dress for an interview:
3. Speaking negatively about a former employer
I realize that everyone has had a boss in the past that they didn’t like, or that one of your previous jobs was absolutely horrendous. But I don’t want to hear about it. It only makes me think that if you leave my company or my client’s company, that you will badmouth them or me as well. Plus it creates an unpleasant tone during the interview, and nobody wants to hire a Negative Nancy. So even if your last boss was Bernie Madoff, try to put a positive spin on your experience working with them.
4. Saying anything racist, sexist, ageist, or otherwise
America is diverse, and yes, freedom of speech is your right under the First Amendment. However, unless you have been living under a rock recently, you should know that spouting off at the mouth about others’ ethnicities, race, gender, etc. will get you in trouble, and it certainly won’t get you the job. Just Google Donald Sterling if you need further insight.
5. Not asking questions
This is probably one of the blunders I see the most. It’s an easy mistake to make, and this one annoys me more than any of the others. I implore you, ask SOMETHING! How long have you worked here? What do you like best about working here? What’s the hardest part of this job? What are the company goals and 5 year plan? What do you like to do for fun? Do you like dogs? Just ask questions! It shows that you are engaged in the interview and interested in your interviewer, the job and the company.
So there you have it – 5 things to avoid during your next interview.