POSTED ON

29 Mar 2018

The hiring manager at the job you've been pining for has finally called you in for an interview. Congratulations! Getting called in for an interview can be such an exciting time, but it can be nerve-wracking too. And though moving on to becoming a 'job candidate' instead of a 'job applicant' can be considered a major victory, the unfortunate truth is that too many candidates ruin their hiring chances because of a blunder during the job interview.

Don't let all that time and effort you put into landing that interview go to waste. Avoid these top 10 job interview mistakes and prove to the interviewer that you can be an asset to the company.

1. Arriving Late

Even though haven't met the interviewer in person before, you can manage to leave an impression (a bad one) even before you come face to face, by not arriving on time for your interview. Running late tells the interviewer that you have poor time management skills. Worse, he or she could think that the job isn't important to you at all. Show respect by arriving on time for the interview. Better yet, get there early. This shows that you value the interviewer's time and don't want to waste any of it.

2. Appearing Indifferent

Your cover letter mentions that you are excited about the work opportunity; that you are eager to land the job, and look forward to the interview. You then have to display that enthusiasm during your interview. If you show signs of disinterest, keep in mind that to them, you're just one of many, and they have a lot of other applicants to pick from. Granted, there's no need for you to go overboard with your enthusiasm. Just a show of attentiveness and doing some research about the company will be enough.

3. Not Dressing the Part

When you meet with an interviewer, the need to look professional and sophisticated cannot be overstated. Dressing appropriately shows the interviewer that you want to put your best foot forward. Of course, you don't have to put on a fashion show. Your attire can even be downright casual depending on the position you're applying for. The main point here is that you have to look organized and not unkempt or disheveled. Brush your hair, look in the mirror, and make sure you look polished before you arrive.

4. Bringing a Beverage with You

Maybe they'll offer you a drink, but don't show up carrying it. If you can't do without a pick-me-up, do it before the interview. Aside from making you look unprofessional, having a drink with you creates an opportunity for distraction, and you should never be distracted during your interview. Plus, you could end up spilling your drink, which can be more than a little embarrassing. Leave your drink behind and focus on the tasks at hand, which is to appear confident, listen intently, answer questions accurately, and create a good lasting impression.

5. Criticizing a Former Employer

You can say that your previous job wasn't a good fit for you, but don't ever put down your former employer or company. It sends the signal that you're a negative-minded person who can't let go of the past. If the interviewer insists, think of a right way to explain the issue without focusing on conflicts. You could simply say that the management style just wasn't right for you, then proceed to identify the qualities in a boss that would compel you to be a more productive and collaborative team member.

6. Not Bringing a Resume

All too often, job applicants assume that the interviewer will be ready with a copy of their resume. But workdays can be hectic and not every interviewer is that organized. To avoid an awkward situation, bring a copy of your resume with you to the interview. Aside from being practical, it informs the interviewer that you are considerate and well-prepared.

7. Not Being Ready with Your Answers

You brought your resume, now you need to demonstrate basic knowledge and understanding of the job you're applying for. All interviewers tend to ask the same fundamental questions-those that concern your background, previous employment, interests, passions, how you see yourself in the future - if you've been at a job interview before, then you have a basic grasp of what to expect. Nevertheless, below is a refresher on five fundamental questions you must brush up on. If you're a first-time applicant, prepare good, solid answers for these.

- Tell me a little background on yourself…

- Why did you apply for this job?

- What qualities do you consider to be your personal strengths?

- What are your weaknesses?

- Where do you see yourself in five years?

8. Overzealousness

Not being prepared is obviously off-putting, but trying too hard to impress can be just as equally repulsive. For example, if the interviewer asks about your understanding of the company's mission and vision, you don't have to go on a discourse about how much you know about the organization's history, hierarchy, or even its people. Your efforts will appear contrived, if not altogether creepy. You want to show that you've done your homework, but you want to present that knowledge in a natural, free-flowing manner.

9. Focusing Too Much on Yourself

Overzealousness may be wrong, but the conceit is much worse. Talking on and on about yourself, how the job is the career opportunity you're looking for, how you're the best possible candidate and the like, can be too much for the interviewer to handle. Keep your ego in check and focus on traits and skills that will be useful to the company. Make your answers show how you can be of service to the hiring manager, and not the other way around.

10. Failing to Follow-Up

Following up within 24-hours after the interview is the perfect way to cap off an interview. It shows courtesy, respect and your continued interest in the job. If you forget to follow up or intentionally do so, hiring managers may think you don't want the job, or they may simply forget about you, especially if they've been interviewing other potential candidates throughout the day.

Interviewers take these mistakes as a sign that you're not the person they're looking to hire. Avoid these mistakes and show the company that you're exactly what they need.

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