Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. Elevated levels of stress can cause job applicants to make uncharacteristic mistakes that might hurt their chances of landing their dream job. It is essential for applicants to present themselves in a calm, professional and confident manner during a job interview. Even a simple mistake can detract from this professional image and indicate a lack of preparation. Avoiding these common mistakes can help you stand out from other people applying for the same job.
# 1: Careless Appearance
One of the most common mistakes made by job applicants is negligence regarding their appearance and attitude. As a job applicant, you may have only a few minutes to convince the interviewer that you are the right choice for the available position. It is imperative that you appear confident and prepared during these brief moments. Even small details like posture and tone of voice can affect the impression you convey to the interviewer.
The best way to avoid an unprofessional appearance is to allow plenty of time for preparation. Make sure that you have clean and suitable clothes readily available well before the interview. Rushing your preparations or dressing hurriedly can lead to a sloppy appearance. You should also consider the nature of the position for which you are applying when deciding what clothing to wear. A “business casual” style of dress is suitable in most cases. Flashy or gaudy jewelry, however, or wrinkled or stained clothing, should never be worn to a job interview.
# 2: Careless Behavior
The next important aspect of a professional appearance for your job interview is appropriate behavior. For example, speaking nervously or too rapidly can sometimes give the impression that you are inadequately prepared. Exhibiting poor posture or focus may also be interpreted as an indication of a poor work ethic. You can avoid these mistakes by practicing before the interview. Recruit a friend or two to help you participate in a mock interview. You can make a list of common interview questions in your field and practice several responses. Plenty of preparation can help any job applicant impress their interviewer.
# 3: Careless Resume
Another very common mistake is failing to bring an appropriate resume to the interview. An inadequate or incomplete resume can badly hurt your chances of impressing the hiring manager. You should create a proper, complete resume well in advance of the interview, and should revise it as many times as necessary to ensure it is both unique and professional. If you wish, you can find many high-quality sample resumes online to study before you revise your own.
An excellent resume should highlight your most impressive qualities as they relate to the job for which you are applying. You should spend plenty of time perfecting your resume before an interview, of course. However, you should also spend time practicing a brief, concise verbal summary of that resume to present during the interview itself. You may even want to practice reciting this summary in front of a mirror to ensure that you can maintain a natural, professional and confident delivery.
An interview for a new job need not be an overwhelmingly stressful experience. Appropriate attire, proper attitude and a well-written resume are great foundations when learning new interview skills. Think of each interview as preparation for future interviews, as well as for other professional meetings you will have throughout your career. Each interview will help you learn new and valuable communication skills that will use over and over again.