A job interview can sometimes seem like a final boss battle that stands between you and being hired. It's a daunting task that can lead to a lot of anxiety for you, which can impact how you perform during the interview.
In reality, an interview isn't as scary as it might seem. It's a chance to meet your prospective employers and introduce yourself to them. Yes, there are some things you can do wrong and some things you should never say, but if you avoid these pitfalls (and do the proper preparation), you should be fine.
If you have an interview lined up, take a deep breath, do some homework on the company interviewing you, and make sure you avoid the mistakes below:
Don't worry about other people. Just do the best you can.
1. Don't be late
Short of a major act of nature or a major disruption to traffic (one that's big enough to make the evening news), there's no reason to be late for an interview. And if you plan to use public transit, factor in extra time to allow for unexpected delays. Scout out the route the day before if you have to, or situate yourself at a nearby coffee shop to guarantee you will be on time. (And arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time.)
2. Don't be unprepared
You should be ready to address anything brought up in the job ad. Sometimes that means explaining why you have a skill or can obtain one that's not clear in your background. You should be ready to explain why you are a good fit for the job and how you might handle common situations. It's also important to come in with some questions about the company and the position being offered.
RELATED: Check out the top U.S. cities with the most job openings this year:
12 cities with the most job openings
12 cities with the most job openings
12. Jobs in Phoenix
Job openings: 13,409
Current growth in Phoenix is slower than it was during past booms, but the economy is still creating jobs. The Phoenix metro area is chock-full of small businesses — 96 percent of the region's 126,000 businesses have 50 or fewer employees.
The leisure and hospitality sector is booming, with growth of 7.1 percent from July 2016 to July 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next fastest-growing sector was construction, with 3.5 percent growth over the same time frame.
11. Jobs in Denver
Job openings: 13,958
The chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Patty Silverstein, forecasts strong job growth continuing for Denver after a "stellar" 2016. The Denver job growth forecast is 2.4 percent in 2017, with four sectors posting strong employment growth:
Leisure and hospitality
Education and health services
Natural resources and construction
Strong economic activity and net migration are expected to push home prices higher, which could have positive, ancillary benefits on the economy.
10. Jobs in Boston
Job openings: 14,631
Boston is a college town, home to prestigious institutions likes Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College. In fact, as of 2016, the city had the largest concentration of top-tier research universities in the country.
Boston also has a number of the country's best hospitals, including Massachusetts General. Thus, it is no surprise that the highest level of employment in the city is in education and health services.
9. Jobs in Dallas
Job openings: 15,057
Dallas is a bright spot in the Texas economy. Economic growth over the next five years is expected to reach 4.2 percent per year, according to the city's economic forecast.
Dallas is a key driver of economic growth in the state, according to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The city is blessed with a diverse economy and its business concentrations are in logistics, technology and corporate headquarters.
8. Jobs in San Francisco
Job openings: 15,972
San Francisco is the fourth most-populated state in California and it runs neck-and-neck with Los Angeles when it comes to having the most job openings.
With a well-known concentration of financial services companies, including Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab, it should be no surprise that the professional and business services industry is No. 1 when it comes to employment in San Francisco.
7. Jobs in Los Angeles
Job openings: 17,061
Los Angeles is the capital of the world for show business — and it's the largest city in the state. As a result, the city's economy is naturally large and diversified.
Away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles is also the home to the nation's No. 1 container port, which makes trade its top industry.
Education and health services come in a close second.
6. Jobs in Seattle
Job openings: 17,576
Seattle's economy is well-rounded, which results in many job opportunities. Seattle offers employment in a variety of industries, ranging from trade to transportation and utilities to professional and business services to government to education and health services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Seattle's economic development plan focuses on "business cluster development," or the effort to align companies in a geographic area that work in the same industry. The city believes that this type of coordinated, economic development activity is the key to Seattle's economic growth.
5. Jobs in Washington, D.C.
Job openings: 18,541
As befitting the nation's capital, government jobs in DC make up the largest employment sector. The city also offers high levels of employment in the fields of professional and business services and education and health services.
The city has several organizations and agencies that focus on potential economic development opportunities, and it has initiatives designed to develop small business owners.
4. Jobs in Houston
Job openings: 19,564
Although Houston's economic situation might change in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Harvey, it stands at No. 4 on this list of cities with the most job openings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the most workers in Houston are:
Transportation and utilities
Professional and business services
Leisure and hospitality
The city's economic development plan identifies the energy, manufacturing and medical sectors with the most robust growth.
3. Jobs in Atlanta
Job openings: 20,712
Atlanta's two main industries — in terms of the percentage of the population that is employed in those fields — are sales, administrative support, management, business and finance. The city, however, also employs those in the science, education, library, engineering and computer sectors at a rate above the national average.
The city's most recent Comprehensive Development Plan was adopted on Nov. 21, 2016, to further economic growth in the city. Invest Atlanta, the city's development authority, is focused on growing residential and commercial economic vitality in the city.
2. Jobs in Chicago
Job openings: 25,104
Chicago, has the second-highest number of job openings on the list. Chicago's economy is guided by an economic development plan entitled, "A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs," created by World Business Chicago and the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Chicago's diverse economy has 13 key industries:
Plastics and chemicals
1. Jobs in New York
Job openings: 37,428
New York City boasts a growing, diverse economy that has many growing industries, hence its No. 1 position in this list of cities with job openings.
New York's core businesses include technology, fashion, food manufacturing, food retail, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, life sciences and urban innovation and sustainability.
New York is particularly booming when it comes to the startup sector, which accounts for more than 291,000 jobs and more than $124 billion in economic output.
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3. Don't arrive empty-handed
Bring copies of your resume and a sheet listing your references. You might not need them, but you should not expect interviewers to have anything with them. It's always better to be ready with materials you end up not needing than to awkwardly discuss something that could easily be read on your resume.
4. Don't bring up money
If the interviewer asks you salary questions, you can certainly answer. A first interview, however, is not the place to discuss compensation or benefits unless the interviewer introduces the topic. There will be time to talk about those in a second interview -- or during a call in which you are offered the job.
5. Don't forget to follow up
When the interview is over, send a thank-you note within 24 hours. If you have been communicating via email, it's fine to send your note that way. And don't just thank the person (or people) for taking the time to talk to you; use it as an opportunity to reinforce or clarify any point you need to.
Relax, be confident
If you have prepared for your interview and avoided the mistakes above, then you've done your best, and the rest is out of your hands. Sometimes, that will be enough. In other cases, maybe someone else did a better job or had a qualification you lacked; if so, there's no shame in failing. Eventually, doing things right will pay off with a job.