We've heard it all and we've seen it all — interview mistakes ranging from running late, chewing gum, leaving your phone on, wearing flip-flops, forgetting to iron your suit, to stating, "I just need a job". The list goes on and on. These are some of the obvious mistakes. There are, however, other interview blunders that may not be as apparent. Let's take a look through the following list to see if any of us fall victim to these common interview mistakes.
You limit your choices.
Sometimes job opportunities don't play out the way you plan or hope. Putting your job search on hold while you interview for one job can be detrimental to your possible new career. If you are actively seeking a new job, then your search needs to be active as well. Leaning on "hope" can bring you to a jarring halt if the opportunity doesn't play out.
In addition, you may want to open your search to temporary, temp to perm, and contract opportunities. Coming out of a recession, businesses are that much more conservative about who they hire, and temping may mitigate those larger, unfounded concerns for both parties. These opportunities are a great way to find out if you like working for a certain company, in a different industry than you are accustomed to. They can ultimately be the great gateway into a permanent role, (or at the very least, pay some of your bills!)
Your social media sites may not be as personal as you think.
Have you ever searched your name on Google? If you haven't, we suggest you do! If you find anything you wouldn't want someone to see, you need to check your privacy settings or take some things down. Another tip is to check the photos section of the search as well. As much as your friends want to see all of the crazy pictures from your milestone birthday, your future employers don't.
Your resume isn't perfect.
Font, spacing, color, margins, spelling, grammar, etc. All of these are important. Your resume should be easy to read. Our primary suggestions include ensuring you have no spelling or grammatical errors, and that all of the text is in black. Although you may personally like blue, some may find the color to be distracting. You also want to make sure the font styles are uniform. If your job title is italicized in your most recent job, all of your job titles should be italicized (same goes for all font styles, font sizes, sp
cing, etc.) Have a professional read over your resume. Any savvy recruiter will ding a candidate who emails with typos, starting from your cover letter, and on.
Your resume is too long or too short.
It's very possible that you have enough work experience to cover four pages, but it should not take four pages to summarize it. You may consider editing older work history, particularly if it is not germane to your current job search. If you have been in the working world for over 20-30 years, you don't necessarily need to include work you did right out of college, or your internships. A good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to one or two pages.
If your resume is too short (less than a full page), it is likely that you do not have enough content. What were your day-to-day duties? What was a large project you worked on? Volunteer activities and unique accomplishments, including running a marathon, or helping to build a well in central Africa add tremendous insights into what makes you a well-rounded candidate.
You don't give your references a head's up.
Letting your references know that they may be receiving a call is very important. Whatever the circumstances may be, they need fair warning. It's advantageous because you can tell them what position you are interviewing for, and how the position relates to your previous experience, etc. Giving them a head's up also gives them a chance to dig through their employee files to give accurate information about your employment timeframe. You also want to make sure they are going to give you a glowing reference. Listing someone (preferably someone in a management position) who can truthfully account for previous work you did is very important.
You haven't mastered the thank you note.
Here is a link to our previous article about the art of thank you notes.
Finally, you have a poor attitude.
If you aren't showing your best face, why would you be a good hire? It can be difficult to stay positive, especially if you've been affected by a recent layoff or a long drawn-out job search. Think of this while you are interviewing, "This job is mine!" Isn't there a reason to be happy if you are already thinking the job is yours? If it doesn't end the way you "hoped" or "planned", then at least you have backup job interests and interviews, right? (Refer to section, "You limit your choices".) Keep your stories about past bosses and companies professional, your reasons for leaving should make sense, be concise, and verifiable.