What not to say in an interview (Part II)

Note: This is another guest entry by student Kevin Hassard, who wrote the entry for 1/28 as well.

On Tuesday I discussed “Drinking, Crying and Other Less Obvious Ways to Tank a Job Interview,” which offered suggestions on what NOT to do during an interview. Today I’m going to continue discussing that article by touching on some other key points.

“Underdressing”: My mother always liked to tell me “It’s better to show up to a party overdressed than underdressed.” It’s the same way with interviews. When you walk into that business setting, the first thing that will make a statement is the way you are dressed. Sure there are limitations for overdressing like anything else. However, you want to look presentable and leave an impression that your potential employer can reflect on positively. Remember they are looking to hire someone who is going to exemplify the image of the company. Even if you wouldn’t dress up for work at that particular job, its shows professionalism dressing up for an interview. It also shows that you are taking the interview seriously.

Men:

• What Not to wear: T- shirts, shorts, jeans, sneakers.
• Alternatives: Collared shirt, tie, slacks, dress shoes, dress socks.

Women:

• What Not to wear: Anything that is too tight, too low cut, or too short. Shoes with high heels.
• Alternatives: A dress with a jacket or a suit (both pant suits and skirt suits are acceptable).

[For more advice on what to wear to an interview, see “Appendix K: Dressing for the interview.”]

“Being Unprepared”: In my opinion there is nothing less appealing to a potential employer than someone who comes into an interview unprepared. It shows a lack of interest and respect by the interviewee to waste that person’s time thinking they can wing their way through an interview. If this is the attitude you show when trying to get hired, how will that be any better when you have the job? According to the article, “Candidates should know about the history, culture and brand of the company they are interviewing for.” Not only that, but interviewees should rehearse the night before an interview and have statements prepared for potential questions. You should be able to talk about former jobs, skeletons in your closet, your strengths and weaknesses, etc. Showing an interest in the company and being able to answer tough questions better than your competition gives you an obvious edge in the hiring process. Go ahead and look up some potential interview questions online. The link below has some helpful mock questions.

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest.htm

[You can also prepare by reading Tip 45: Prepare for difficult questions and Appendix J: Typical Interview Questions.]

“Not Having Passion”: I was surprised to see this on the list because when you’re in college you usually major in something that you are passionate about. However, there are instances when the company you are working for is just about a paycheck. Then there is the moral dilemma of doing something for a paycheck vs. for personal enjoyment. My best advice is to pursue a career in something that you are passionate about and apply for jobs at organizations you really want to work for. This saves you the heartache of working somewhere you hate and the employer from hiring someone who is going to resent their business.

“Not having any questions”:  According to the article the absolute worst mistake an interviewee can make is not having any questions at the end of an interview. It is important to show an employer your interest in the position by asking questions. You will leave a more profound impact and make yourself more appealing to an employer. This goes along with having passion about a job as well. It’s insulting to an employer and it makes it appear you weren’t paying attention if you have nothing prepared at the end of an interview.

[Appendix A: Formulating questions for the information interview will give you ideas for questions for the job interview as well.]

That’s it for this blog post. Hopefully the analyses on the tips were helpful. Keep your eyes out for new blog topics that I hope to write about soon!