Being in this industry for the past 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of candidates and facilitated more interviews than I liked to count. Even though it’s my job to stay abreast of in-demand IT jobs, I find it just as useful to share some of things that keep candidates from getting these jobs. That’s right; candidates can ruin a job interview within the first 20 minutes of an interview. Of course, some of these reasons are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they’re justifiable reasons as to why these candidates are not an employer’s top choice.
1. Dressing inappropriately. I know, in this day and time, you would think that most people would know the do’s and don’ts of interview attire. However, you would be amazed at the comments I’ve seen regarding a candidate’s attire or lack thereof. Just a few side notes; don’t wear anything that has glitter, makes it hard to sit down, or is wrinkled – that’s a problem. Even if the office culture permits business casual attire, you still need to put on a suit and look professional.
2. Getting too personal. Always remember, the interview starts as soon as you enter the door. By all means, be polite with everyone that you come in contact with from the security attendant to the receptionist. However, keep the conversations professional – avoid talks about what you did over the weekend, or how nervous you are about the interview. Many interviewers may ask other staff members about their impression of candidates afterwards.
3. Showing up too early. It’s always great to arrive about 5 minutes early. However, if you arrive earlier than that, interviewers could get a little annoyed because they might feel obligated to interrupt their day to go out and meet you or they feel slightly guilty for leaving you in the waiting area are too long.
4. Wanting answers for the obvious. I’ve had candidates ask, “so what exactly does your company do” or even ask the interviewer “what’s your title and what do you do”? These are questions that can easily be researched before getting to the interview. If you ask these types of questions, it shows that you have done your homework.
5. Asking questions that focus solely on salary and benefits. It signals that you’re interested only in compensation and haven’t put any thought into the details of the job, the company’s culture, and so forth.
6. Lying. As simple as that – don’t lie about your skills, experience, salary…or anything of the sort. If it’s discovered, you have made a lasting yet negative impression that you cannot be trusted.