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Landing the job: top interview don’ts

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For many job applicants, an interview can be your first in-person introduction to your potential employer. After the hiring manager has combed through your resume and cover letter, he or she will want to gain a better understanding of your personality, skills and experience, all of which can be gauged by the interview.

Because of this, it is important to steer clear of a few interviewing faux pas. Here are a few interview no-no’s you’ll want to avoid!

Arriving late

Unless you’ve experienced some horrible emergency (and no, forgetting to set an alarm or running into traffic don’t count as valid emergencies), showing up late to an interview can be the kiss of death because it causes a negative first impression. Even if you are the perfect candidate for the position, the employer may feel that you didn’t take the interview seriously enough to arrive on time. He or she might also consider your tardiness a predictor of future behavior. Instead, aim to arrive about 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointments to indicate your interest in the job and your overall professionalism.

Looking sloppy

A career coach once told me, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” In other words, invest in a professional wardrobe and dress to impress your employer. Having a polished appearance can be the extra step you need to obtaining the position you want, and putting in the effort is another indicator of your interest in the job.

Skipping the research

Before the interview, you should have a basic understanding of the company, its mission and the position for which you have applied. For example, rather than simply telling the employer that you want to work for a great public relations firm, mention one of the firm’s case studies or the types of clients they serve. Know what the company stands for, and demonstrate that knowledge in the interview to show the employer how serious you are. If you arrive at the interview without a clear understanding of the company outside of the job description, the interviewer may write you off after assuming you aren’t truly interested in that particular company.

Not having questions

While research is vital to any job application, it is also important to arrive at the interview armed with questions. When the employer asks if you have any questions at the end of the interview, saying “no” or simply asking about pay will demonstrate a lack of interest in the position. Instead, ask about the company culture, ongoing projects that you may be involved with if hired, or even the employer’s own favorite projects at the company. Asking genuine questions about the company values or specific questions about the job will show that you have a keen interest in the job and have put some time and thought into it.

Do you know any other top interview don’ts? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr

Valerie MosesLanding the job: top interview don’ts

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