5 interview mistakes that will kill your career chances : The Halloween edition

By Courtney Jones

Tricks for treats are never a guarantee, and tasteless tricks can be downright poisonous—especially when it comes to a job interview.

Unprofessional behavior can kill your career chances faster than a bad movie can massacre an awesome franchise—remember wanting to watch Jason X?

(No? EXACTLY!) Because Jason had no business being in space.

Surviving a job interview is like surviving a horror movie: There are very specific rules. Avoid making these monstrous mistakes that would land your resume in the same bin as James Issac’s 2001 cinematic catastrophe (who hasn’t directed anything other than C-list, straight to DVDs since, by the way)...

See where we’re going here?

  1. Showing up too early or too late

Strolling in too late is an obvious no-go. But over-eager beavers can also leave a negative impression. Being too early or late says you don’t respect the interviewer’s time, who still has a full day of his or her own work to do.

Golden horror rule of survival: Never run up the stairs

Give yourself enough time. Plan to be in the reception area with 10-15 minutes to spare. You don’t want to have to run back home (and up the stairs) if you forgot something.

2. Wearing the wrong attire

There’s a difference between standing out and being too distracting. If your clothes are too casual or too revealing, it may offend the hiring manager. For men and women both, it's generally a good idea to know your field, know your geography and default to a suit if you’re not sure and aren’t willing to risk making a bad impression.

Golden horror rule of survival: Pay attention to your surroundings

If the usual office attire is a designer suit with a pocket square, then wear that to your job interview. If the usual work wear is jeans and rock and roll t-shirts, wear a button-down shirt and khakis with no tie. Also, get plenty of sleep the night before, no one wants to wake up like the walking dead.

3. Being a know-it-all or getting too familiar

An interview is a business conversation. Business. Having great experience combined with an outgoing personality can be a huge asset—as long as you don’t use it to sound like you’re bragging or trying to become too familiar with the hiring manager.


Golden horror rule of survival: Don’t be the jerk

Discuss your achievements in a team-centered way. Sharing credit for your accomplishments can minimize the potential for seeming arrogant. Remember, no matter how casual the interview may be, no swearing (even if they do), no family talk and no personal problems. And never, ever bad mouth your previous employer.

4. Bizarre body language

From eye contact to posture, to the way you play with your hair: It all matters. Nervous is normal, but the energy will distract from the interview.  If you fidget easily, avoid rings, watches, jewelry and wearing your hair down. If it's not there, you wan't play with it.

Golden horror rule of survival: Listen to the old lady

Sit up straight like mom taught and don’t fuss. You want to appear open and approachable, so don’t fold your arms across your chest or stare off into space. It's also important to note that nobody trusts the one with the shifty eyes. That's just a general life rule.

5. Being caught unprepared 

Researching your potential place of employment is a no-brainer, but making an inventory of your own experience and accomplishments will help you evaluate if the role and company culture is a good fit. Creating your talent inventory refreshes your memory and helps you remember experiences you would otherwise have forgotten.

Golden horror rule of survival: Don't go alone

Write down a list of questions and bring them with you into your job interview. Having no questions is a red flag that you're not interested and not prepared. Interviewers are more impressed by the questions you ask than the selling points you try to make. Don't be caught unprepared, unaware or unsuspecting!

A bad interview can kill your job search-- if you let it. So be a survivor. Follow the rules.


by Courtney Jones

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