Job interviews can be incredibly nerve-wracking. No two hiring managers are the same, so you never quite know what to expect. However, several behaviors are considered universally unacceptable.
If you aren’t having much trouble making it to the interview stage, but still haven’t received an offer, there’s a good chance your technique is off. Here’s a look at five mistakes you might be making that are repeatedly costing you the job.
There’s really no good excuse for showing up late to a job interview. From the hiring manager’s perspective, arriving late makes you appear unreliable and sends the impression you’re not that excited about the job. Avoid this by always leaving more time than necessary to get to the interview, because you never know what obstacles you might encounter along the way.
Failing to Dress the Part
Dressing to impress is always important in a job interview, but there’s more than one way to do so. Generally speaking, you should dress one level above the company’s standard dress code. For example, if employees dress in business casual, arrive in business professional — i.e., a suit. Getting this right shows your fit for the organization.
Bringing a Beverage With You
A job interview isn’t a casual chat with a friend. This meeting can be the start of something amazing for your career, so you need to look like a consummate professional. Carrying coffee, soda or even a water bottle is distracting and opens the door for mishaps like a mid-interview spill. Get caffeinated or hydrated before the interview, so you’re good to go before walking into the building.
Not Asking Substantial Questions
You’re in the hot seat for much of the interview, but at some point, the tables turn. The hiring manager expects you to ask questions, because you should want to learn as much as possible about both the job and the company. If your questions center on topics like salary and vacation days, you’ll send the message you’re not that interested in the job itself. Avoid this by preparing a list of questions in advance, in case you freeze up and can’t think of anything substantial on the spot.
Speaking Poorly of a Former Employer
Hiring managers know people leave their jobs for myriad reasons. In many cases, it’s a bad boss or a toxic company culture, but they don’t want to hear the negative details. No matter how much you hate your current job or despised one in the past, you have to put a smile on your face and package your reason for leaving in a positive manner. If you speak poorly of an employer, the hiring manager will assume you’ll do the same about their company one day.