In the past few weeks, 35 people have interviewed for positions where I work. There are three job openings. Only one position was filled. There are a variety of reasons for this. All of the applicants who made it to a personal interview possess enough of the skills required to be capable of performing the position for which they interviewed. Now let’s talk about the top 5 reasons, the missteps that were made, that prevented job offers being extended.
First, if you have scheduled an interview, please be on time. Be five minutes early…not an hour early…not 20 minutes late. You may want to wear a watch rather than relying on your cell phone. Take the earlier train, even if it means you have to spend an extra 10 minutes at the corner café before our meeting.
Second, overdress. While you may have heard that the office is “business casual” in attire, you don’t work there yet. Do not arrive looking like you ran ten blocks from the train; sweaty and winded. Comb your hair. Dress to impress!
Third, do not walk into the office in the midst of a personal phone call, stand in front of the receptionist, then proceed to hold up your finger to signal her that you will be with her in a minute, when you finish your call. Turn off your phone prior to arriving; not merely on silent. You turned it off during the “Avengers” movie so you are capable of lasting for an hour (or three) without contact with your family and friends. The last thing I will say about cell phone usage at your interview….NEVER take a call during the interview. Do not excuse yourself, take the call, and think that when you return to our conversation, I will be happily waiting for you to engage.
Fourth, do know something about the company you are applying to prior to the meeting. If you are being considered for a marketing position, I hope you have, at the very least, looked over the firm’s website. Better still, I am going to suggest you devise several intelligent questions or statements, ready to demonstrate your knowledge of the firm and an interest in its operations.
Fifth, NEVER call your interviewer by the wrong name. If I have just given someone my business card at the onset of the meeting, and have spent an hour conversing with this person, it is offensive to be called by the wrong name. IF you make this mistake, apologize immediately and stop there. Do not go on to tell me of all the interviews you have been on today or even this week. I want to know you are interested in THIS position. This is not speed-dating at the local pub. I don’t need to know how many have come before me. This does not make you appear to be in demand. It makes you appear desperate and makes me think that none of these many others has made you an offer…why exactly is that?!
If you have any doubt about appropriate interview etiquette, please reach out. I am always happy to help you along your career path.