8 Warning Signs You're Going to Bomb Your Job Interview
If you have a job interview coming up, you will no doubt be preparing for it. Depending on the type of industry you are in, that could mean refreshing a portfolio, getting a haircut, and warning friends and colleagues that they may be called to give you a reference.
However, even with all that in the bag, you could be walking into a potential interview failure. If any of the following warning signs hit close to home, you should correct them before you ever step foot in that interview room.
1. Your Social Media Accounts Are Filled With Problems
We live our lives in public. Employers know this, and as such they now comb through social media accounts of potential employees, looking for reasons not to hire you. Any inappropriate photos will not bode well for you. If you are very political, one way or the other, it could be a black mark against your name. If you slag off your current, or previous, employer, that will make you appear difficult and dangerous. If your posts are filled with spelling errors, that could also cross you off the list.
Social media accounts can lead to you failing the interview before the first question is even asked. Comb through them carefully, and delete anything you think could be an issue. If you see something that makes you cringe, or would make you embarrassed to show the interviewer, get rid of it. We may have freedom of speech, but that doesn't stop the employer from using it against you.
2. Your Resume Is Not Current
One of the best habits to get into when you're employed is regularly updating your resume and/or portfolio. Not only does it benefit you when posted on sites like LinkedIn and Krop, but it also gives you a regular gut-check on how your career is progressing (or not). If you have had three promotions in the last five years, those need to be on your resume. If you have taken on much greater responsibilities, put those down. If you landed a big new account, or helped the company make the local news, find a way to work all that in.
A stale resume signals to a prospective employer that you are lazy, uninterested, or disorganized. And you do not want the interviewer to think you are anything but a great addition to his or her team. Look at your resume right now, and if it's even a little dated, fix it.
3. You Know You'll Nail It
Confidence is good. Arrogance, not so much. While you should definitely believe in yourself, your achievements, and your abilities, you cannot afford to think that this job is already in the bag. That kind of cocky attitude can easily lead to your downfall. It can prevent you from doing the requisite preparation, and you may not ask yourself the tough questions that the interviewer will definitely fire at you.
Of course, you don't want to let too much doubt slip in, because that can be just as damaging. Think of this like the time you first met the parents of your longtime partner. You hope they'll really like you, and you're going to do everything to make sure they see the real you without coming across as God's gift. Hubris has no place in your life before this meeting, and the same goes for the interview.
4. You Can't Wait to Dump on Your Current Employer
Big mistake. You may feel like they don't appreciate you, or hate the fact that you've gone without a raise or promotion for the last five years. You may also despise the boss, your coworkers, and the product or service offered by the company itself. You can feel the need to unload just rising up inside of you. But the absolute worst thing you can do is unburden yourself in the interview. You will sound bitter, hostile, and show your prospective employer that you have very little loyalty or respect.
The interviewer will think you to be a challenge, and you may well turn that same hatred on any company that hires you. Why take the chance? If you have to let it all out, tell a friend or relative. Write it down in a letter (even addressing it to your current boss… but don't mail it, obviously) and exorcise those demons. If the interviewer asks about your current employer, talk openly about some of the challenges you have faced, but in a very positive way.
5. Your Interview Is Near the End of the Day
Uh oh. If you're being asked to come in late in the day, chances are you are going to have a bad time. People who have been interviewing candidates all day are tired, irritable, and have often already seen the person they want for the job. They have had to endure hour after hour of the same kinds of answers, and may well have been knocked out by someone you now have to follow. All in all, the last interview of the day is a slot that can really work against you.
Now, some people say it can be beneficial. Being the last person means you will be freshest in the mind of the interviewer, and that gives you a better chance to stand out and make the cut. This is a myth. Most interviewers schedule the candidates they are interested in for the earlier time slots. If your resume and cover letter knocked them out, you would not be given this slot… unless, of course, it is the only time you can make it. But realistically, you should be doing your best to work around the employer's schedule, not vice-versa.
6. You Don't Know Enough About the Company
A big part of your preparation for the interview should be about the company itself. You need to know whom you are going to work for, what the company has been doing over the last few years (or longer), and what the marketplace is like. Who are its biggest competitors? Has it had any major breakthroughs recently? Has it made the news, for good or bad reasons? Does it have a reputation for laying off employees, or paying below the industry average?
If you are going to an interview soon and cannot answer any of these questions, you are not going to do well. And, you can't wing it, either. Get your research done. Use Glassdoor to search what people are saying about the working conditions. Google the company name, and see what comes up under "news" or "videos." A site like Reddit may even have a subreddit devoted to it (think Apple or Microsoft, for example). Do your homework, and you will be in a much greater position in the interview. You'll also know what to ask for when it comes to salary, benefits, and perks.
7. You Don't Have Any Questions Prepared
An interview is not a one-way street. Your interviewer will start the ball rolling with a whole lot of questions, probing to see if you're the right candidate for the job. They will be watching everything you do, writing down positives and negatives, and will be eyeing-up your personality, too. But they also want you to ask some questions, as well.
They want to know that you're interested in the position, the company, the benefits, and the opportunities for growth. They may well prompt you by saying, "Is there anything you'd like to know?" or "What questions do you have for me?" If you don't have some zingers ready, something that really shows your passion for working at the company, you will come across as blasé or going through the motions. That is not a good impression to leave with anyone.
8. You Haven't Thought About Your Outfit
From the moment you step into the office or meeting room where the interview takes place, you are being judged. How you walk, how you greet the interviewer, and how you dress are all being evaluated. What you wear, and how you wear it, can have a huge impact on that vital first impression.
It also varies greatly depending on the type of job you're going for. If you're in a very creative industry, such as graphic design, advertising, music, filmmaking, or beauty, you will probably want to look just as creative. A stale suit and tie will make the opposite impression, and even though you may be a creative genius, you will look like an accountant or sales person.
That doesn't mean sloppy; it should be put together with care, even if it's a pair of designer jeans and a T-shirt. Similarly, that very same outfit would be a disaster for an industry that expects formal clothing. Banking, finance, medicine, law — they would consider you sloppy if you wear anything other than a well-tailored suit or equally professional outfit. If you still don't know what to wear, get some advice from people who work at that company.
Don't waste an opportunity like a job interview by slipping up on these simple things. Be prepared in order to give yourself the best chance possible at achieving your career goals.
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