Since you are reading this article, I’ll assume that you’re a proactive job seeker who knows the ropes by heart. For instance, you would never show up at an interview without fresh copies of your CV, interesting questions to ask the recruiter and a working knowledge of what the company actually does.
1. Showing Up Late
Yes. Don’t give me that look, this still happens. And I don’t think it’s because people assume it’s OK to be running behind schedule. It mostly happens because candidates don’t take the time to plan how long everything will take—you know, from sneaking out of their office to taking a cab to the interview venue and unfortunately, “traffic was bad” isn’t a good enough excuse for a recruiter who planned his/her day around you arriving on time.
It is advisable to get to an interview five to 10 minutes early so you have time to relax, use the restroom if needed, and review your strategy before the meeting. You can easily make this happen by looking up the directions the night before (ask for directions if it is an unfamiliar area) and then factoring in extra time for traffic, or your boss stopping you on the way out and asking if you had time to look at the reports he sent over last night.
2. Forgetting a Hard Copy of Your Resume
I know you emailed your CV to the hiring manager (that’s why you’re at this interview right now) and yes, your entire job history’s posted on LinkedIn.
But here’s the catch—while the interviewer might’ve looked at all this stuff recently (very recently in fact), it’s probably not fresh in his or her mind. Especially if the recruiter reviewed several applicants in a row for the same position. So, do yourself a favour and bring hard copies of your CV along.
As a rule, you should always bring two to three copies of your resume so the person you’re meeting can have it in front of him throughout your conversation.
3. Dressing Inappropriately
Most people make the mistake of thinking that inappropriate dressing is restricted to revealing or unofficial dressing. That is not entirely true. I’ll share a story with you.Early in his career, a copywriter friend interviewed at a big ad agency dressed in a suit and tie. The minute he walked in and saw that nearly every employee there was wearing jeans and sneakers, he knew he wouldn’t get the job (and he was right). The good news is that he learned his lesson and went to his next interview dressed more casually—leading him to land a great gig.
Before you go on your interview, research the company’s dress code. Or, to put it more bluntly, stalk it (and individual employees) on social media.
Yes, in certain types of environments (such as startups or creative fields), people tend to dress more casually. But even within those companies, there’s a line you shouldn’t cross. So, do as much research as possible so that you can prove you’re a culture fit just by what you’re wearing.
4. Not Researching the Company
Thanks to the internet, it’s way too easy to find information on a company. So you have no excuse for showing up unprepared. You don’t need to know the company’s profit margin, but you should know the basics about what they do, how they do it, and where they want to go.
You can learn all this by searching for recent headlines, setting up a Google alert to get the latest news on the company sent to your inbox, following the brand on social media to get real-time updates, and talking to anyone you know who works there to find out about the culture and the open position.
The next time you land an interview, keep these basics in mind. They may sound simple, but take it from me: You’ll be way ahead of everyone else.