So you’ve got your resume all spruced up and your best tie pressed, now all you have to do is answer a few questions and you’re home free, right?  Before you start having your new business cards printed, you might want to stop and think about the interview as more than ‘just a few questions’.  Some of the most common mistakes interviewees make are also the most obvious and avoidable.  Even if you have a stellar history, dress sharp, and nail all of the interview questions, you could still find yourself losing the job to the competition.  Yes, these avoidable mistakes can cost you the job offer.  It is well known that dressing inappropriately or showing up late for an interview can spoil your chances of getting a job, but there are other, more subtle behaviors that can cause you to unknowingly ruin your job interview and sabotage your job offer.  Lets us look at five ways you can sabotage your job interview.

1.  Company research

This should be a no-brainer.  Have you taken the time to learn the details about what your prospective employer’s business is all about?  Not doing thorough research about the company may imply that you are not willing to invest time and effort on the job.  When doing research you must cover two areas; the company and the position you are being interviewed for.  Find out everything about the position and present yourself as the best fit.  Knowledge about the company will enable you understand its vision and ideals.  This knowledge will also be important when you are given the chance to ask your questions.

2.  Receptionist

Most people do not view the receptionist as a potential interviewer, but be aware; receptionists normally report back the behavior of the interviewees to the hiring manager.  Be friendly and courteous to any personnel you encounter while on site.  That includes receptionists, security guards, even the grounds keepers could potentially report your behavior to the interviewer, so make sure they have something good to say.  The formal interview does not start and end at the interview room.  The interview process starts when you are called by the recruiter or the company and continues with every conversation you have with everyone.

3.  Not giving your interviewer a handshake

A handshake helps you develop a strong first impression.  Not shaking your interviewer’s hands denies you this opportunity of cementing a good first impression.  It also creates an impression that you are a disrespectful person.  You should make it a habit of standing up and greeting everyone you meet, especially if it is the first time.  By doing this every time, you may not have to think about it when it is most required of you.  Oh, and don’t forget to smile!  Greeting someone with a smile is unbelievably important.

4.  Talking negatively and griping about your past employers

You are never guaranteed to be with any company forever.  When you talk negatively about your previous company, your interviewer tends to wonder if you are going to say the same of him or her when you leave his or her company.  If you have valid critical points to make about your previous employer, be sure to present them in a respectful but honest manner.

5.  A ringing cell phone

A ringing cell phone can create unnecessary disturbance and distraction during the interview.  It also shows that you are not serious about the interview process.  The interviewer may feel that there are other more important things to you than the job.  The best thing to do is to completely turn off your phone.  If you have a valid reason to leave it on, kindly let your interviewer know before the interview begins.

Have you made an easily avoidable interview blunder in the past?  Please share your experience with us.

by:  Anjela Mangrum, CPC

Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.

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