13 Interview Don’ts

by Fred Coon, CEO

SC&C Mistakes to avoid during your interviewIt takes a lot to develop a positive impression, and conversely requires very little to leave one that does not work in your favor as key decisions are made for the new talent they need to bring on. Don Goodman, author at careerealism.com

Let’s get the basics out of the way. With plenty of candidates available, it doesn’t take much to remove you from consideration. Here are 13 tips on what not to do in an interview.

13 Interview Don’ts

  1. Don’t be late. It’s your time to show that you’re interested and reliable, not lackadaisical! Plan ahead so that you know the lay of the land. Scope it out a day early, if you can, so you know where you can park, how long it takes to walk there, whether the elevators are painfully slow, and what your eventual destination is. You don’t want to get lost, go up the wrong office tower, or simply not be able to find the place.
  2. SC&C Don't answer cellphoneDon’t answer your cellphone. Don’t play Angry Birds while you’re in the waiting room. Many employers begin observing you before the interview, so don’t be caught looking bored or disinterested.
  3. Don’t insist you don’t have a weakness, or use the trite “I work too hard. It won’t fly. It makes you look like you lack the ability to self-assess, or that you’re arrogant.
  4. If the interviewer is late don’t be rude. If you’re late, you’re generally disqualified; if they’re late, and they seem to expect you to accept it, you may wish to disqualify them as a potential employer. See it through, to see if you’re truly interested, but if it sounds like the culture doesn’t match your style, it is okay to pass on the job.
  5. Don’t be unsure about your direction. There may be plenty of opportunities for you that you’re prepared to explore, but enter the interview with the attitude that this is the job you want, that you are prepared to make a difference. This place is your ultimate goal and the beginning of a long and illustrious career.
  6. Don’t dress contrary to the style of the company. They may be happy with cargo pants and Hawaiian shirts in some places, but most will expect something reflective of their own business. It might be a suit, a sport jacket, or simply a nice shirt and slacks. Fit it.
  7. Don’t speak badly of previous employers. Put a good spin on it, no matter how deserving they are of your wrath. You don’t want your new employer suspecting they’ll be your verbal targets if you choose to leave their employ at some point in the future.
  8. Don’t be negative and bitter. No matter how long you’ve been looking for work keep a positive attitude in the interviews. It may be hard, but it’s your responsibility to show them that you’ll fit in; that you have what it takes to enhance their company culture, not drag it down to your level.
  9. Don’t forget the breath mint! The last thing you want is to drive a wedge between you with an unholy miasma of garlic. Use deodorant, and go lightly on the cologne/perfume, or avoid it altogether, letting the smell of pleasant soap carry the day. Some people are sensitive, or will see You as insensitive to others if you smell like you dunked yourself in a barrel of scent.

Conduct research so you have at least a general sense of the type of business the company is in and what the position you are applying for is about. You will be able to better tailor your communication during discussion and questions with the employer. Don Goodman, author at careerealism.com

  1. SC&C research the employerDon’t be ignorant about the employer. Don’t ask “What do you do here?” We’ve heard plenty of these stories about that questions. Nowadays it is so easy to be prepared with insightful questions. Know the important people in the company, and even have clever observations from checking the latest news that mentions the company. Be prepared!
  2. Don’t assume you’re hired. The interviewer may sound enthusiastic, and may drag you around to meet people in the department, show you your office, or whatever, but that may to get others to assess you. It is not a good time to ask about perks, vacation time, salary, or when your first raise is due. This is a time to evaluate if you and the company are a good fit. If the interviewer wants to talk about it, fine, go ahead, but don’t commit to a salary expectation before you’ve done some research so you know what is appropriate
  3. Don’t be quiet and shy, or overly gregarious. This is certainly a time to shine, but don’t go overboard and spend time talking about yourself during a recent fishing trip where you caught a sailfish. Being friendly is fine, but try not to make them think that you’ll be too busy spinning stories to ever get any work done.
  4. Finally, don’t lie. It would be a shame to lose a job you really liked, were really good at, and were making great strides in because you claimed to be in consideration for a Nobel Prize. Don’t be an idiot and lie about anything. You might color the truth, a bit, to explain a small work history gap, for example, which won’t hurt anyone. Don’t claim expertise in MS Office and then not be able to turn on a computer. That serves no one.

You know what to avoid; you know what to do instead of these mistakes. Now get out there, do it right, and get to work.

Stewart, Cooper & Coon has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon or call 866-883-4200, Ext. 200, and connect with them on LinkedIn.