Some interview pitfalls to avoid.
- Don't arrive at the interview late.
- Don't over or under dress or dress inappropriately for the position. First impressions do count and you want to be dressed to show that you fit into the desired role.
- Don't wear strong perfume.
- Don't forget to take with you extra clean copies of your CV as well as a notebook and pen with which to take notes.
- Don't forget to shake the hand of the Interviewer firmly - a limp or sweaty handshake will not be looked on favorably.
- Don't chew gum, smoke, eat or drink at the Interview.
- Don't act distracted. Look the Interviewer straight in the eye and give him your full and undivided attention.
- Don't let your body language send the wrong messages. Be aware of the nonverbal cues you are sending out! Sit upright and straight in the chair facing the employer and smile. Lean forward occasionally to express interest. Avoid crossing your arms or legs in front of you (suggests defensiveness), slouching in the chair (suggests sloppiness and lack of energy), leaning too far back (may be interpreted as being overly familiar and disrespectful), talking to the floor (lack of confidence) or flirting.
- Don't refer to the Interviewer by his first name unless he specifically asks you to do so.
- Don't talk about your weaknesses or failings or apologize for lack of education, experience, training etc. Everyone has weaknesses; the Interview is the time to showcase your enthusiasm and strengths.
- Don't make derogatory comments about previous bosses or peers. This is never acceptable and particularly works against you in the Interview.
- Don't act tired or jaded. Employers are invariably looking for someone to energize, inspire and uplift the team. Try to act enthusiastic and full of energy and motivation.
- Don't act unfocused and uncertain about what you want. Whatever interview you're in - you want THAT job.
- Don't lie. Answer briefly, truthfully and concisely.
- Don't interrupt.
- Avoid giving 'yes' or 'no' answers. Support your answers with examples and be as factual and concise as you can.
- Don't talk too much. Focus your answers on the particular question and on your related strengths. Watch for signals that the Interviewer is losing interest and stop talking immediately.
- Don't talk about your personal life. You have not been hired yet so keep it professional. This is no the time to talk about failed love lives, a husband who asked you to quit your job etc.!
- Don't treat questions as jokes or try to be too funny.
- Don't ask about holidays, perks, hours or compensation until you've actually been made a serious offer.
- Don't act overly confident or superior. Ultimately, unless you are applying to the very senior level positions, the Interviewer is looking for someone who is manageable and will fit into the team.
- Don't drop names of influential friends and acquaintances unless you are passing a message or someone has referred you. Be very careful and professional when you mention names of clients and make sure you are never giving out confidential information.
- Don't leave abruptly. Shake the Interviewer's hand firmly, thank him for his time and ask what the next step will be.