Common job interview mistakes to avoid
Tackling that first job audition is an art. Find out about the tactics you need to bag your first job.
The hiring manager isn't solely hiring your skills and achievements, but a candidate as a complete individual.
First impressions, personality, attitude, presentation, responses, questions -- all matter.
Each factor you display is evaluated by the hiring manager.
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Photographs: Rediff Archives
Careless CV mistakes
Your CV speaks before you do, so ensure that it does not etch the hiring manager's brows.
A professional email ID consisting of (REAL name REAL surname) is digested better than firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is safer to state your skills and interests in the conventional manner like 'I keep myself updated about current political affairs' rather than 'I got the political curioisity thing in me'.
Spell check before submission.
In the section of hobbies and interests, state activities that would complement the job you are applying for.
For instance, if you are applying for a journalism job, stating that you are interested in reading and writing rather than gossiping and chicks.
Not being ready
When audition call arrives
The moment you are given a ring to come for an interview is as crucial as the interview itself.
Below are some of the confessions of candidates who committed disasters at this crucial moment and got fired before being hired:
- "During a phone call, I flushed the toilet while talking to the hiring manager. He instantly told me, 'Sorry, it's better you stay there.'"
- "I just got out of the shower, and my interviewer called me for an interview in the next 30 minutes. I responded, 'With my hair soaking wet? I just got out of the shower lol'. I wasn't hired for the job."
Not researching enough
Even if you have submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you may also be asked to fill out a job application.
Make sure you know your information well -- previous internships, graduation dates and previous mentors' contact information.
Research the organisation you have applied to. Be aware of their targets and needs.
Use LinkedIn and similar tools to find people who worked at the company or who may have interviewed there.
Ask them what the interviews there are like.
Heavy perfume, body odour, unkept nails, messy hair and gaudy, revealing attire may get you entry into a rock band, but not into that office.
Formals are the safest attire.
If you aren't sure of what the employees in a particular organisation dress like, stand below the organisation's office building for a few minutes a day prior to your interview and gauge what the employees entering/exiting are wearing.
The desi mistake committed by some candidates is removing their shoes at an interview, worse still, sporting smelly socks.
Filler words and flirting
Umms, ahh and other sounds in the middle of your speech encourage regret in the interviewer's mind.
Flirting with your interviewer is another outrageous mistake, post which you may find yourself outside the door that just slammed in your face.
One of the most tormenting things interviewers face is a candidate who can't stop the blah-blah-blah.
The interviewer isn't there to slyly write your autobiography.
Keep your answers to the point and focused.
These are what hiring managers consider the most outrageous mistakes by a first time applicant:
- 77 per cent cited answering a call or texting during an interview.
- 75 per cent said appearing uninterested.
- 51 percent listed dressing inappropriately.
- 44 per cent cited arrogance on part of candidate.
- 29 per cent stated not asking good questions.
Trying to be funny
When the manager asks, "What do you think this job is about?", avoid responses like these:
Take numbers on pieces of paper, rearrange them and put them on different pieces of paper
(As told by a candidate who applied for an accounting job)
Teach your kids enough to complain but not enough to make a difference
(This candidate had applied for a teaching job)
Write words that no one wants to read.
(Said by a candidate who applied for a journalism job)
Flubbed it up? You still have a chance
If you still flubbed up the interview (in spite of our wise words), don't take it to heart.
Don't lose your mind and don't badmouth, you never know when you will be in need of that boss from heaven/hell.
Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next boss from hell/heaven.
Fuzzy answers for staple questions
Staple questions are embedded in the blood of the interviewer, even if you don't like them (or him). Find out what can get you fired or hired.
What sets you apart from recent graduates?
Way to get fired: Just look at me. I mean, c'mon! I have it all!
Way to get hired: Emphasis on the number of accomplishments you have achieved, all before you graduated.
What are your strengths?
Way to get fired: My voice is sexually persuading. I can get you more deals.
Way to get hired: State your qualities, skills and aspects which most people can't tackle (for instance, I can work in the company of people whose views don't match mine).
What are your weaknesses?
Way to get fired: Sweets and sleep.
Way to get hired: Honestly mention qualities you lack and state that you're improving upon them.
Do you have any questions?
Way to get fired: I really don't have any/Do you get good food nearby?
Way to get hired: Ask about the company's positioning in the market, their USP. Try presenting a few beneficial/creative ideas if you have any.
Outrageous interview blunders
Best of the worst
Unable to talk, a girl removed a beer bottle from her purse, took a sip and said, "Now I'm ready to answer".
An applicant told the interviewer he wouldn't be able to stay with the job long because he might get an inheritance if his uncle died.
A candidate searched through her notes to read an answer.
A candidate answered her cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave the office to her because it was a 'private' conversation.
The applicant smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
A candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
A candidate asked, "What company is this again?"