Home » Business » Careers and Jobs

10 Tips For The Perfect Job Interview

Nov 13, 2007
Preparing for a job interview is extremely stressful - there's simply no denying it. The 30 minutes of intense questions and answers will decide the direction your life will take for you, so it's imperative to make it count. At our online travel jobs website (http://www.puregenie.com), we try to prepare our visitors for their job interviews by giving an insight into what's expected. Nonetheless, having worked in recruitment for over 10 years I have seen the same job interview mistakes occurring time and time again. The good news is that all of them are fixable with a little research and some practice when preparing for a job interview.

In preparing for a job interview, be sure you don't fall into the following 10 traps:

1) Poor presentation or dressing in the wrong way for the tone of the job interview.

Why it may ruin your job interview:

If you don't give the impression that you care about your appearance then you will be judged accordingly - after all, if you don't make the effort when preparing for a job interview, why would you pull your weight for their company if appointed?

How it can be corrected:

Take some time to appear well groomed and professional looking. Although some offices are increasingly less formal with clothes, you don't want to assume it applies to interviewees too, so phone up in advance and enquire about the dress code. If this is impossible, it's best to err on the side of caution and appear overdressed rather than under, for the reason explained above.

2) Nervous job interview body language

Why it may ruin your job interview:

If you find yourself fidgeting, slouching or refusing to hold the interviewer's eye contact in the interview, you will come across as lacking in confidence, and no employer will be impressed by someone so timid and awkward around people.

How it can be corrected:

Some nerves are expected and acceptable in a job interview, so don't make yourself more nervous worrying about this one. On the other hand, appearing more confident than a rival candidate with similar ability can give you the edge, so try to seem assertive. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and stand straight.

3) Not listening at the job interview

Why it may ruin your job interview:

Some people who are worried about their job interview performance actually manage to shoot themselves in the foot by planning too carefully! If you attempt to counter your nerves by planning your responses to potential questions while the interviewer talks you may miss out some valuable information about the work, the questions and any tasks you are to be set.

How it can be corrected:

Just relax, listen and show the interviewer you are hearing their points. Match their style and pace, and they will be aware you are following their lead.

4) Verbal overkill!

Why it may ruin your job interview:

The point of the interview is to find out about you, your aims and your attitude, but if you overdo it, they'll have their answer! This is often a problem with under prepared candidates, who make up for their lack of succinct answers by rambling.

How it can be corrected:

Carefully preparing for a job interview is essential - match the job specifications to your own abilities and be sure to only share relevant information with the interview panel. Listen to yourself talking, and if you feel yourself slipping off the question, then sharply bring yourself back around.

5) Appearing over confident in your job interview

Why it may ruin your job interview:

If there's one thing worse than a timid interview candidate, it's one who's overconfident to the point of arrogance. Nothing can get an interviewer's back up than a candidate's brashness, and it's all too common for this to result in no job offer at the end of the process.

How it can be corrected:
This one is usually the result of reserved candidates going too far the other way, but if it's a personality issue it's quite hard to correct because you may not know you're coming across as brash! While it's important not to play down your achievements, try and be slightly modest about them without ever make them seem easy for just anyone to accomplish.

6) Not maintaining formality in the job interview

Why it may ruin your job interview:

No matter what the tone of the interview, the dynamic remains the same: the interviewer is in control, and you need to be polite and respectful at all times, maintaining the decorum of the situation. Different interviews have varying levels of formality, but even if the interviewer is being casual and informal, don't assume you can relax and behave how you would with your friends - it makes you seem a less serious candidate unaware of the situation.

How it can be corrected:

Try to match the tone your interviewer adopts, but don't step beyond it. If it's a stuffy environment with no room for humour, then don't crack a joke. On the other hand, if they are being deliberately informal to help you relax; show you appreciate the effort by dropping the formality a notch.

7) Answering questions without thinking

How it may ruin your job interview:

If you jump straight in to answer a question without thinking your answer through, you'll end up rambling and, unless you're very good at blagging, you're unlikely to impress the interviewer this way.

How it can be corrected:

It's understandable that you don't want to leave an awkward pause, but most interviewers would rather you take time out to think of an appropriate time you showed the required skills than for you to list any old thing because you're under pressure. Ask if it's okay for you to take a moment to think - don't take too long, but ensure there will be no pointless ramble.

8) Failing to keep your job interview language formal

How it may ruin your job interview:

This one seems obvious, but if you don't keep your language formal and appropriate you may end up causing offence and ensuring that you don't make the impression of an on-the-ball employee.

How it can be corrected:
Don't try and temper this to the degree that you sound forced and insincere, but ensure that there is no slang in your speech, and steer clear of any references to age, politics or religion.

9) Any Questions? No.

How it may ruin your job interview:

It may seem like an innocent question to give you something to say at the end of the interview, but often the "Do you have any questions about the job" enquiry is designed to test your enthusiasm for the role. Unless they've been remarkably detailed in their talking, there's bound to be something to ask - and if you don't and your competitor does, guess who seems more excited about the role!

How it can be corrected:

Listen carefully to everything said in the interview, and if a point appears that you'd like more information about, make a mental note to bring it up later. If they've been incredibly thorough and there's nothing to say, you can either ask about when you'll hear the outcome of the job interview, or turn it into a compliment of how thorough they've been!

10) Candidate seems unnervingly desperate (Employ me, pleeeeease!)

How it may ruin your job interview:

This really is quite understandable, especially if it is your dream job or you're currently unemployed, but unfortunately appearing incredibly needy is a major turn off for employers. It undermines your confidence and makes you seem desperate.

How it can be corrected:

Try to dampen your desperation - appear keen and enthusiastic, but not unnervingly so. Remain cool and calm and let your performance and skills do the talking. Also, make sure you don't follow up your job interview with endless pestering emails and phone calls - it can really undermine the impression you gave the employers.
About the Author
Gail Kenny is the managing director of Puregenie - an online recruitment agency for the travel industry.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 130
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories