Top 10 Ways to Sink a Job Interview

job interviewYou did well enough on your cover letter and resume to be invited for that all-important interview with those actually doing the hiring. Sure, you're nervous. But a case of nerves isn't going to knock you out of the box.

Actually, there are 10 standard mistakes that applicants make on interviews, any one of which means the end of you as a serious candidate, reports This list of 10 comes from speaking with nine serious players in recruitment and job search field.

Here are the Top 10:

1. Be late. Lateness, at least in most industrialized nations, is the universal sign of disrespect. Best to err on the side of caution, get there extra early and hang out in a coffee shop until about 10 minutes before you're scheduled to meet with the hiring manager.

Of course, crazy things can happen to people on the way to an interview, ranging from an accident blocking traffic to a flood in the subway. If anything like this happens to you, call the hiring manager explaining the delay, and ask if they'd still like you to come in that day or if they prefer you to reschedule.

2. Be out of tune with work world. If you're unemployed you might have lost touch with the normal flow of the work day. It's important not to appear too out of touch. If your concerned that you might fall into this category, you improve your chances of making a good impression by carving some extra space out of your schedule for your preparation and for the interview itself.

By being prepared, and not having too many extra worries on your mind the day of your interview, you approach the meeting with the proper mindset.

3. Appear anything but professional. Employers are hiring you to work. That means you should be dressed well, and have the body language, as well as the facial gestures of a serious professional. Once you're part of the team you can loosen up to fit the company's work culture. Until then, remain buttoned-up.

4. Take too long to say thanks. A carefully thought out email, sent shortly after the interview, which indicates your interest and enthusiasm regarding the position, can only help your chances of getting hired. Handwritten snail-mail is nice, but it takes way too long to be delivered. If several people interviewed you, then consider sending each of them a separate note. It's fine if each note has essentially the same content, just don't CC everyone on a single email.

5. Allow your cell phone to ring. In all professional situations, it's wise to defer to those with the most power. [Check out Erving Goffman's 'Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.'] That means if the boss's phone rings during an interview, they can speak on the phone while you're sitting there. But you'd be foolish to try the same act. Shut your phone off before even entering the premises. Play it extra safe, and don't let yourself be observed chatting on your cell while waiting in the lobby.

6. Treat support staff without respect. The administrative assistants, secretaries, and paralegals in an office often constitute the heart and soul of the organization. The higher-ups value their perceptions of potential candidates. In addition, because of their relatively low pay, they can be extra sensitive about perceived slights. Bend-over-backward to approach these gatekeepers with respect and deference.

7. Become the interviewer. Some assume it's an impressive tactic to turn the tables on the hiring manager and start grilling them with questions. Putting your interviewer on the spot about anything from their own capabilities, to the mess their organization is currently in, is a recipe for disaster. A few polite questions, which demonstrate your knowledge of the organization, its prospects, and your subject-area expertise, are more than enough. Should they invite you to assess the challenges that face their organization, proceed with diplomacy. This could very well be a test of your emotional intelligence [EI].

8. Frame your previous employer negatively. The principle behind speaking positively about all earlier work experiences is simple: If you badmouth those from the past, you're likely going to continue the pattern of behavior, and badmouth whoever hires you. There are always diplomatic ways to frame even the worst workplace disasters, as a useful learning experiences.

9. Behave abnormally. Employers have to determine if you can fit in their organizational culture. If your considered a genius in your field you might be allowed to operate on a longer leash. If you have such status, then you shouldn't be stressing all that much over your interview technique. Otherwise speed read your environment when you get to the interview and mirror how the employees are behaving, matching everything from their body language to their pace and volume of speech.

10. Be a pest post-interview. Excessive contact after the interview can turn off potential employers. Not only is it annoying to busy people, but it also signals desperation. To follow up, what's appropriate is an immediate thank you note, and possibly a timely phone call a week or so after the interview to indicate you're still interested. Other than that there's not much reason to contact the hiring managers, unless it's to inform them that you've secured another position.

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