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Interviewing Secrets

Today’s unemployment pool of candidates is among the highest the country has seen in decades. With that in mind, candidates should seek creative ways to stand out amongst the crowd in a positive way. In order to remain competitive without hurting your chances of advancing to the next round, check out our latest list of mistakes to avoid while interviewing for your desired job.

1. Checking the Time. While it’s totally understandable that you want to be respectful and not stay past your allotted time, you absolutely come across being rude if you make the mistake of checking your watch during your interview. Let the interviewer play timekeeper. If you do it, you send the message that s/he is wasting your time; and that could cost you ultimately.

2. Lighting up or smelling like cigarettes. A number of places of employment have intentionally created healthier work environments by even prohibiting smoking on the company grounds. Some employers award employees for not smoking with some benefit perk created to motivate and inspire others. Whether you know that information or not…do not participate in an interview smelling like an ashtray. If you can avoid it, try not to smoke at all on your way to your meeting. I felt the eye rolling of those who smoke routinely; but, just remember, if your interviewer hates the smell–that could cost you.

3. Complaining about the wait or anything! Just make it a habit of thinking good thoughts. Avoid conversations or topics that lead to snarky, irritated sounding responses that suggests you are a complainer or would lead the company gossip pool by complaining about everything, including management (especially if you’re aspiring for management). Keep your comments to yourself until the interview is over. At that time, talk it over with your best friend. Do not complain!

4. Being too familiar and joking too much. The best way to ease into a serious interview is to smile and laugh if the interviewer says or does something humorous. Just know where to draw the line. Hold your knock-knock jokes for your stand-up routine. The last thing an interviewer wants is you wasting their valuable time while you try out your stand-up routine. Everything should be done in moderation. In addition, if you happen to know the interviewer on a personal basis, avoid being disrespectful by forgetting you know them personally. Rather, you should treat them like any other stranger you would seek to impress with your actual skills. Please avoid terms of endearment such as, “Girl”, “Boo”, “Uncle”, “Kee-Kee”, “Honey”, “Mommy”, etc.

5. Asking for a Bathroom Break. Need I say more? Unless you’re having an emergency, don’t do it! Individuals with medical issues should discuss it in advance when scheduling the interview, but try to avoid the situation by using the bathroom before your appointment. Oh, and remember, don’t be late!

6. Not knowing why you’re right for the job. If you haven’t taken the time to truly assess your skills, you are not properly prepared for an interview. During your prep time you should be comparing your skills to the job posting that you responded to during the application process. Research the related position and know the trends of the industry. This is where you set yourself apart from the other applicants. Take this step very seriously and prepare!

7. Avoid the Nervous Giggling. We all get nervous from time to time, so the occasional nervous laugh is tolerated. However, if it means you are laughing at things that are clearly not funny through-out your interview…you’ve gone overboard. The last thing you want to portray to the hiring manager is immaturity. Smiling is certainly a welcomed gesture, but excessive, nervous laughing is a turn-off. If this is a habit of yours, practice being serious without coming across as angry.

8. Bringing your Friend (Spouse). Sometimes you may need a ride to an appointment. Cars break-down, flat tires happen or you just may not have transportation at the time. If you get a ride to the appointment, please do not ask your guest to sit and wait for you in the lobby. You would hate for something tragic to happen such as an argument with the receptionist or some other mishap that could cost you the job. Just ask your friends or spouses to wait in the car, take a short drive, run an errand or pick you up at a specific time.

9. Too Much Information (TMI). I’ve shared this opinion before. Answer the questions that you were asked. Please do not talk for an additional 15 minutes if you were asked a simple question that should only take 30 seconds. Talking too much often kills the deal and has cost some job seekers the job that already belonged to them. When you interview think as if you have the job and it’s yours to lose. Just don’t lose it because you are talking and sharing way too much of your personal information.

10. Not asking any questions. Employers want to know you are genuinely interested in the job. One of the best ways to show your interest is to ask calculated questions to demonstrate your knowledge of the company as well as highlight your communication skills. If you don’t have a question, re-state a former point that the hiring manager made and tell them how excited you are to be considered for the position. Bottom line, they have to believe you want the job!

The current job-search market is very competitive with plenty of skilled people just like you. Avoid being eliminated by not committing one or more of these costly errors while interviewing. Keep your competitive edge by preparing days prior to an interview so that your interaction with the hiring manager is an easy and comfortable one. Research, research, research is one of the best ways to prepare for that important interview. For more helpful tips on costly mistakes, check out my other blogs on Interviewing Mistakes Lessons 1 & 2. In addition, we can help you prepare properly for your next interview through our Strategic Skills Packages!

As always, Style & Travel Daily is concerned with your success. Until next time, Stay Focused, Faithful and Fearless! Go get your job and Rewrite your success!

Your Career Coach,


Mark Hillery

Style & Travel Daily

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