Sometimes we’re oblivious to the obvious. And sometimes we find ourselves in self-imposed situations that require on point powers of perception. And sometimes that sense of situational propriety shows up when it’s a tad too late.
Job interviews are these types of situations.
Failing to observe the proprieties required for employment will surely result in a dismissed candidate, but sometimes common sense just isn’t so common in the aforementioned situations. Here are a few formality faux pas you may want to avoid if you want to get the gig.
1. Showing up with shopping bags
Giving yourself plenty of commuting time is a wise move, however; you may find yourself having some time to kill if you were a bit overzealous in your ETA. So, a quick trip to the store may seem perfectly acceptable—but it’s not. “My candidate was quite early for her interview, so she decided to pick up a few groceries and arrived at the interview with 3 grocery bags. The hiring manager was not impressed,” admits Valerie Anderson-Migliore, a Technical Recruiter with Procom.
Bottom line? Interview then shop!
2. Being a victim of the weather(man)
Inclement weather is unavoidable, but planning for it isn’t. If the weather man calls for sun but the sky is threatening something ominous, ignore that person and bring an umbrella. Similarly, in the warmer months, you may want to opt for air-conditioned transit rather than walking. “A candidate once decided to walk 30 minutes for an interview at 1 p.m. on a hot day when the temperature was 30 degrees,” says Richa Dhupar, a Recruiting Manager with Procom. “The interviewer mentioned that the candidate was sweating and smelled.”
Making these types of mistakes may give the indication that you don’t plan ahead.
Come on, right? That’s probably what you’re thinking, but some candidates do fall off the wagon before showing up for their interview. It’s another example of falling victim to time, nerves or just a really bad decision. “The worst was a candidate turning up smelling of liquor,” says Marnie Pertsinidis, an Account Manager with Procom, “You can do your best to coach, but people are unpredictable and you can't control everything.”
The moral of the story here is that drinking and bad decisions go hand-in-hand when it involves a hiring manager.
4. Confess to creeping
Due-diligence/creeping…semantics don’t matter on Thursdays, but the fact of the matter is that internet research is a must when preparing for a job interview. (And of course you’re going to research the people you’ll be meeting with.) But keep the personal profile knowledge you acquire to yourself. “A candidate once started the interview by telling the interviewer that she looks much better in person than on her profile. The hiring manager wasn't flattered," says Marnie.
What is perfectly acceptable to admit to, however, is noticing LinkedIn groups you’re both part of or mutual connections. This ignites rapport, instead of the inclination to revisit privacy settings.
5. Getting too personal
You want to integrate yourself personally to the hiring manager because the number one hiring factor is, in fact, likability – but you need to find the balance between professional and personal. "A candidate once went for an interview at one of the banks; it went very well and the hiring manager walked her to the elevator to say goodbye, fully intending to make an offer,” explains Valerie, “While waiting for the elevator, the candidate thought it appropriate to comment on the hiring manager's gold crucifix - asking if she was Catholic. The hiring manager found this highly inappropriate, and let us know that she would not make an offer based on this.”
Picking up on social cues isn’t a talent everyone can possess, so to be safe, keep the conversations to business talk.
Dressing to impress, showing up on time and research are all pre-interview must-dos, yet you may want to also keep these tips in your repertoire to increase your candidacy.