Once you’ve started to navigate the open job market, polished your resume, and applied to positions of interest, the most important step is on the horizon: the interview.
We’ve conducted and heard about thousands of interviews, and nothing surprises us anymore. As bad as you think it can get, someone’s done worse.
Don’t be the next story we tell at happy hour by avoiding the following blunders.
1. POOR TELEPHONE INTERVIEW ETIQUETTE
A phone interview is a great way for a recruiter or employer to screen candidates for “soft skills,” including temperament, listening skills, reasoning, passion, energy, ambition, and interest in the position.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Dress up for a phone interview like you would for an in-person interview. You’ll feel more ready when you look confident and put together.
- Take the call standing up—or at least seated at a desk or table. Standing and sitting up straight allows your voice to project more clearly.
- Don’t take a phone interview while driving. It’s distracting for you, and you risk poor quality sound if you’re using your car’s wireless phone system or talking on speakerphone.
- Double check that your phone is charged. If you’re using a cell phone, make sure you have at least 50% battery life and keep a charger handy.
2. NEGLECTING TO RESEARCH THE COMPANY AND THE INTERVIEWERS
With the amount of information at your fingertips online, there’s no excuse not to thoroughly research a company before an interview. Read about their mission, values, goals, products and services, and culture. This type of research will help develop informed questions to ask the interviewer.
Much of the information you’re looking for can be found on:
- The company website.
- Recent news releases.
- Social media profiles.
- The company’s LinkedIn page.
- The LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers and potential coworkers.
- Third-party financial information, especially if it’s a publicly traded company.
3. NO CLOSING TECHNIQUE
The close is one of the most important parts of an in-person interview. Typically, the meeting ends with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. This is the time to impress them with smart inquiries about the position and company.
After that, you should ask for the job. Here’s how:
- Restate your understanding of the position
- Restate your skills and how they align with the requirements of the position.
- Tell the interviewer that you’re extremely interested in the position and that you’d like to know what the next steps are.
4. NOT FOLLOWING UP AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Staying in touch with the interviewer and/or hiring manager after the interview is crucial to expressing your interest in the position. Often, a decision between two equal candidates will lean in favor of the most interested and excited candidate.
To show your enthusiasm about the position, write a brief but sincere thank-you or follow-up note to each of the individuals who interviewed you. Include the following:
- A genuine expression of thanks for the interviewer’s time.
- A quick mention of any connections you shared with the interviewer, or a notable discussion point from your conversation.
- A restatement of why you want the position.
- An indication of your interest in the position and an inquiry about the next steps.
Avoid these 4 mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to the perfect new position.