Many people are quick to tell you the top things you should do during a job interview, but what is often more useful is what you shouldn’t do. Being aware of habits that could be unflattering is essential, and it can be difficult to assess yourself correctly. I advise getting some input from friends and colleagues on your strengths and weaknesses.
To start you off, here are a few things to be aware of during an interview:
Talking too much. Many people over-deliver during an interview. It’s natural, because you’re nervous. However, it’s sign of insecurity. It’s better to take the pressure off yourself by actively listening to what you’re hearing to understand the needs of the person sitting in front of you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to gain clarity on those needs. Then form your response around them.
Complaining—at all. About anything. Especially your former employer or the job market. A) No one wants to hear it, and B) You want to present yourself at your best–the positive you.
Causing interruptions. Such as checking your watch or your phone. It’s rude, distracting, and signals disinterest. You need to focus in the here and now to be at peak performance, and showing good manners is a part of that.
Not doing your homework. Before any meeting, be sure to know as much as you can about the company and the people you will be meeting. In this connected world, this should be easy. Be sure to check LinkedIn and Facebook to see if you have connections in common—particularly people whom you know well and like.
Using poor body language. If your interview is face-to-face, your first introduction is non verbal. Often, people size you up before you even open your mouth. As facial expressions and posture play a big role, remember to smile and make eye contact, especially when you shake hands—it establishes trust. And have a confident presence—stand tall, don’t fidget nervously, and don’t slouch or “fold up” when sitting. Remember: your body language doesn’t just inform the interviewer. It actually affects how you feel about yourself as well.
Above all, know that the one thing you’re in control of is you—your thoughts and actions. Interviewers may not remember everything you say, but they will remember how they feel when they’re with you. You want to create an experience that is memorable in the best possible way.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan