Silly things people do that sink the job interview


Your resumes have been successful getting interviews and yet after an interview, you’re still not working. Your experiences are stellar and you know that you have the skills and qualifications to do the job, so why aren’t employers calling you for a second interview or hiring you?

There are many reasons that could be preventing employers from hiring you. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason without a interview coaching session with a counsellor but I believe there are some common mistakes that can be prevented.

1)    Many job seekers are too modest with their past experience and skills. When I talk to my clients, many say it’s because they don’t want to brag. I agree, don’t brag but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be factual with your past experience and skills. Rather than show off about your experience, tell them what you did and how you did that. Employers want to learn more about you and if you don’t tell them, they will never know what your skills and abilities are.

2)    Being aggressive at the reception area. Applicants are sometimes rude to the reception staff or other staff not involved in the interview panel. This will deter employers from hiring you. Employers want to maintain a good collaborative team environment and no employer is willing to rock that boat with someone who is rude to their staff.

Other inappropriate behaviour at the reception area is treating the office like your own home. Charging your phone at the outlet or talking loudly on your cell phone while waiting to be called in for the interview will not make a positive impression. And definitely sleeping while waiting for the employer will not give help you get hired.

3)    Being unprepared for an interview. Take the time to review your answers based on possible questions employers may ask. A quick search on the internet or an interview book from your local library will discuss the common interview questions and how to respond to them. Your answers should demonstrate your skills and abilities and why you will bring value to the company if hired.

4)    Sharing too much unrelated or detrimental information without being asked by the employer. What is too much information? Discussing about your personal problems that are unrelated to the job. Even if the negative information is related, structure your answer so that the employer can feel confident that it will not be an issue. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying lie. Honesty is still important in an interview but know when and what is appropriate to share. If you are concerned about some of your “negative” past experiences or concerns, book an appointment with an employment counsellor for a coaching session on strategies to deal with these questions.

5)    Letting nervous gestures take over the interview. It’s normal to be nervous and when we are nervous, many of us have strange behaviours such as blinking our eyes quickly, playing with a pen, clearing our throats or becoming like a robot, where you are emotionless and your voice becomes a monotone. Regardless what your nervous tick is, you need to find a way to deal with it. If your nervous behaviour is playing with a pen, then do not bring a pen to the interview or keep your hands on your lap.

Practice your interview with a friend or a family member. Ask your friend for feedback and use that feedback to improve your interview skills.

Jennifer4About the Author: Jennifer York is the manager of the Job Options BC program in Vancouver, Surrey and Port Coquitlam for ISSofBC. While working as an employment counsellor, she facilitated and coached immigrants, professionals and students in their job search, both in group and individualized sessions. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.

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