If you meet someone who claims to like job interviews, theyre either telling porkies or are part of the teeny, tiny minority of (highly unusual) people who genuinely enjoy the corporate hiring and firing process. If you suspect that they might belong to this minority, keep them close – mine their secrets, learn from their triumphs – because lets face it, most of us are just muddling through when it comes to acing job interviews. Theyre just no fun, but then again, theyre not supposed to be.
The typical job interview is a pressure cooker situation, cleverly disguised as an informal chat. It will usually involve just one interviewer, but its not unusual for there to be several people in the room – observing, taking notes, whatever it is those shadowy wraiths in the corner are there to do. Whilst its obviously the case that all interviewers are simply there to do their own jobs, it is difficult not to get caught up in a You V Them situation – especially when theyre judging every nervous pull of the hair, every anxious tap of the feet.
The truth is that interviewers and their interviewees are as fallible as one another – were all just people, trying to get through the day. Those in charge of hiring and firing dont always make the right decision. A candidate who twiddles their fingers or stumbles over their words, might actually be a high achiever when it comes to performance in the workplace. There are a hundred and one tiny little things (both fair and not so fair) that put interviewers off in a big way.
If you want to ace your next big job opportunity, youve got to keep them in check. Here are 10 reasons why your latest interviewer might have said Thanks, but no thanks.
You Arrived Late
This is the biggest faux pas that a person can make. You should never turn up late, as there is no excuse for poor timekeeping in this situation. You are being assessed on your reliability - failing to turn up on time will earn you an immediate rejection, in the mind of your interviewer.
You Didnt Research The Company
Again, this is unforgivable in the eyes of most interviewers. It is an easy mistake to make – you spent so much time focusing on your outfit, speech and body language that you forgot to do a bit of research on the company. To a potential employer, it says that you have probably applied for lots of jobs and arent too fussed about which one you land.
You Didnt Make Enough Eye Contact
This is a hard one, because it is natural for human beings to avoid eye contact when theyre nervous. Your interviewer knows that - and on some level, probably understands and sympathises with it – but if you cant overcome anxiety, can you be trusted to do a good job when the pressure is on?
Your Stance Was Defensive
Crossed arms, bent elbows and balled hands can all be signs of a defensive and anxious demeanour. Whilst it is natural to be anxious during a job interview, its also useful to be able to recognise and hide these defensive gestures. If you sat with your arms crossed throughout the meeting, its likely that you came across as disinterested and cold.
You Fidgeted Too Much
Fidgeting is a way of releasing the tension that builds when a person tries to exercise an unusual level of control over their body language. You might, for example, be doing a good job of answering interview questions, but still be manifesting anxiety via toe tapping or face touching. If you have nervous fingers, ask for a glass of water. It is a good distraction for your hands, and a natural request to make during an interview.
You Used Too Much Corporate Speak
The best example of this is the tricky question What is your biggest weakness? It has become common in interviews and it is always difficult to answer. A few years ago, it might have been okay to flip the question and turn it into a positive, I would say that Im too meticulous/ordered/hardworking. These days, however, that kind of corporate speak has become almost taboo and employers are looking for an answer that is honest and genuine, with an appropriate level of common sense. You are better off giving a real reply, than a carefully structured get out response thats too clever for its own good.
You Focused On The Perks
It is important not to give the impression that youre only interested in the perks of the job. The point of an interview is to assess your suitability, not to make sure that the salary and the number of paid holidays suit you. In fact, if the salary has already been revealed, it is best to leave it out of conservation altogether. You already know what the figure will be, so why take the chance that an interviewer will feel discouraged by your focus on it?
You Were Negative About A Past Job
It does not matter how unamicable the departure from your last position may have been, dont mention it. It will get you nowhere to speak negatively of a past employer, even if they deserve it. It wont make an interviewer like you more if you compare a past job to their offered position either, so dont do it. Theres nothing worse than hearing I hated my last job, but Im sure Ill love it here.
You Didnt Ask Any Questions
No matter how eloquent or informative an interviewer might be, theres always something that you can ask when given time to raise your own queries. It looks bad if you dont, so do ask something - even if you think that you already know the answer. A failure to ask questions comes across as a lack of interest in the position as a whole.
You Didnt Have A Personality
You do not have to agree with everything that an interviewer says to land a job. You dont have to echo every sentiment, champion every opinion – frankly, its boring. Your interviewer is looking for somebody who can do a good job and conform where necessary, without completely losing the ability to be an interesting, engaging person. If you really want to ace your next interview, turn on the charm and show them what youve got.
Image sourced from sironaconsulting.com