Having sat through literally 1000s of client interviews, I can say that there are some best practices and reminders that we should all follow – on both sides of the table. Here’s my list of the worst job interview fails that I’ve had the misfortune to witness (in no particular order).
- Be prompt. Nothing is worse than sitting and waiting for a candidate to show. It demonstrates a lack of respect and is just plain rude. This goes for the interviewer as well!
- Don’t answer your phone in the middle of the interview. This one *should* be common sense, right? The important word here being “should.” Unfortunately, I’ve sat through too many interviews where the candidate actually did pick up, sent a text or even asked if I minded if they checked their voicemail. Really?!
- Also, I don’t want to glance down and see your shoes off. Feet are best left with soles on. And besides, ick! And don’t get me started on proper footwear. Flip-flops (no matter how “dressy,” don’t belong in an interview. Heck, now that we’re talking about clothes, be sure you have dressed appropriately for the weather but also business professional. And yes, you do need sleeves. Regardless of gender.
- I hate having to even mention this, but personal hygiene is important. Here in sunny AZ where it can be 120 degrees in the shade, wear deodorant. I don’t want to smell you before I see you. That goes for perfume or body spray, too! Leave your Axe Body Spray at home.
- Please, please, please don’t interrupt me. I hate that.
- No yawning. Get enough sleep the night before your interview and come awake. Or at least caffeinated.
- Come prepared with your own writing utensil and never ask to borrow mine. Also, come prepared with paper or someplace to take notes as well.
- Don’t check your watch. It’s okay to take note of when you get in the interview room and when you leave, but don’t make it seem like you have someplace else to be.
- And last but certainly not least…. Keep your phone on silent. I was in the middle of an interview once and the candidate’s phone rang. Not a big deal, right? He didn’t answer it, but the song it played was the chorus from Justin Bieber’s “%#$@ Yourself.” Go ahead and google it if you haven’t heard it. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. NOT INTERVIEW APPROPRIATE.
Needless to say, none of these fine folks got hired.
I’m always available for interview coaching, so if you feel like you might benefit from some 1:1 attention, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to learn a bit more about Acing the Phone Interview and here for more interview horror stories!