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How to Ruin an Interview in Five Steps

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Most of my friends spent their college graduation gift money on new apartment furniture and fancy gadgets. I spent mine on interview suits.

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Most of my friends spent their college graduation gift money on new apartment furniture and fancy gadgets. I spent mine on interview suits. Since I had no employment prospects and a pile of student debt, I thought it prudent to get moving on the job search. And thankfully, my efforts paid off, because I managed to snag a full-time job within two months of graduation.
But I also hit some hiccups along the way. Some of my interviews were less than stellar, and there’s one that will always stick out in my mind as unquestionably disastrous. If you’re looking to blow your chances of getting a job, simply do as follows, like I did:
• Make sure to schedule that interview in the midst of summer on the hottest possible day of the year. This will make you feel even better about wearing a hot, stuffy interview suit.• Forget to set your alarm the night before, thus ensuring that you wake up at the last possible minute and wind up rushing out the door looking nice and unkempt. (Untamed hair coupled with the aforementioned humidity makes for a really professional look.) If you’re a woman, make sure to slap on some eye makeup so that it can then run down your cheeks when your face can’t stop sweating.

• Fail to check the weather forecast that day and neglect to take an umbrella. Arrive at your interview in full drenched rat mode.

• At the reception desk, be sure to ask for Jennifer Smith when the person you’re meeting with is, in fact, Jennifer Schmitt. There’s no better way to make a solid first impression than messing up your interviewer’s name.

• Bring a hard copy of your resume, but make sure it’s the outdated version you used last year when you were applying for summer internships. This can especially help build your case when your interviewer asks you to describe your best attribute, and your initial response is “pays attention to detail.”
Seriously though, while I had one horrifically bad day, it seems like college grads on a whole are dropping the ball on the interview front. According to York College of Pennsylvania’s Professionalism in the Workplace Study:
• About 40 percent of applicants don’t dress appropriately for job interviews.

• Approximately 29 percent of applicants arrive late for interviews.

• Around 26 percent of applicants fail to read up on the companies to which they’re applying.

• Nearly 25 percent of applicants exhibit poor verbal skills.
Looks like we all need to get our collective act together and here a few ways to start:
Come prepared. Make sure to bring a copy of your current resume with you.
Dress the part. Bust out those business suits, and men, don’t skip the ties. Running a comb through your hair beforehand also doesn’t hurt.
Do your research. Read up on the company and the product(s) or service(s) it offers. Gather some industry info beforehand so you sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Be ready to explain why you’d like the job. Most interviewers will want to know what drove you to apply, so don’t respond with a series of clichés.
Be yourself. But only if “yourself” means a reasonably polished, well-spoken individual who comes across as employable. You don’t want to sound rigid or overly formal during your interview, but you should sound professional.
Of course, you could also ignore this advice and turn your next interview into a categorical fiasco. You probably won’t get the job, but hey, at least you’ll have something funny to write about.

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