With the job market as competitive as it has ever been, it’s important that we’re able to put our best job-hunting foot forward, even during the most stressful of events, such as interviews. While your success at an interview has a number of variables, there are certain things you should do, or not do, in order to appear “hirable” to recruiters. Nothing is going to guarantee you a position during these hard times, but it won’t hurt to know the little pet-peeves of those who do the hiring.
1. Don’t be late to, or attempt to reschedule an interview.
Unless you’re a perfect match for the company and they just have to have you, this will probably cost you the job. If you are not able to demonstrate that you can be prompt and reliable for the very first encounter with your future employer, they’re probably not going to be interested in hiring you. Make every accommodation necessary, to ensure you’re at your interview exactly when you say you’re going to be.
2. Research the Company and the Position.
The information age is a blessing and a curse. While we have access to almost any information we want, literally at our finger tips, we are also on-the-hook when it comes to research, and the interview is a big example of that.
Pretty much any interview you go to will include some form of the question “What do you know about this company?” or “What do you know about this position?” Be prepared to answer both of those questions as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to think of examples of relevant experience and skills you bring to the table which will fit into the company and position.
3. Think of a Relevant but Safe Weakness to Share.
Anyone who has gone to, or conducted enough interviews, knows that it’s pretty standard practice to ask a prospective hire what their weakness is. When going to an interview be prepared to answer this question in a way that is honest, but not damaging.
Avoid claiming your weakness is something that’s actually a positive like being “too dedicated to work” because most employers will see right through that. At the same time, don’t draw attention to a flaw that will make them not want to hire you.
Think of an area that isn’t required for the position, that you could use improvement in, and choose that. It will show you are dedicated to improving yourself, and not over-confident. For example, “I need to improve my graphic design skills” as a weakness for a job that doesn’t involve graphic design, but could benefit from it, would be a good choice.
4. Don’t Bring up Pay or Benefits
Your only task at an interview is to sell yourself to a company. Negotiating isn’t appropriate. If once you are hired, you are quoted an income you’re not comfortable with, you can always turn it down. Wait until you are hired to discuss these matters, because that’s the only time it will really matter anyway.
5. Be Honest!
While some people claim it’s common practice to “fluff” a resume, or exaggerate during an interview, don’t do it. Not only is it unethical to lie during an interview, it will become apparent you’re not as qualified as you claim once you’re expected to perform duties that are beyond your abilities.
If you made it as far as the interview with an honest resume, you are qualified enough to have peaked an employers interest, and lying during the interview will only cause problems. If you are asked about a skill you don’t possess during an interview, answer truthfully but include another relevant skill you do possess, and ensure your interviewer that you’ll put in every effort to learn the given skill.
Landing a job takes all kinds of factors lining up right to happen. Being able to interview well ensures that at least one factor that you can control will be in your favor. Even if you’re not in the job market, it’s good to know what recruiters look for in an interviewee.