1. You didn’t bother to research the company you want to work for.
A very common mistake many applicants make is not knowing enough about the company they are interviewing with. Don’t let the common, “what do you know about our company,” interview question catch you off guard. Take some time to review the company website and find at least three facts to remember just in case this question comes up in your next interview.
For example, I once had an applicant applying for a job with a Bio Tech Company and they asked him what he knew about the company, he was able to tell them that he knew the company was in the process of being purchased by a company from Spain and the company’s name would be changing in a few months. The employer said only one other person he had interviewed knew this even though it was public information on the company’s website.
Putting in a little extra time could be the one thing that sets you apart from your competition.
2. Used references that are too personal.
While I’m sure your grandma has excellent things to say about you, she is not the type of reference an employer is seeking. The best choices include present and former co-workers or supervisors; people you have coached, trained, mentored or led; internship supervisor or others who can speak to your skills, work ethic, abilities and personal traits.
3. You’re Not prepared for an interview.
You haven’t updated your resume in several years, or worse you don’t have one at all, you don’t have a portfolio, you are underdressed and you ran out of time to brush your hair. These are all the worst ways to start an interview.
Having your resume and portfolio updated and ready to go at all times should be a top priority when you are searching for a job. Having a professional suit or outfit for interviews is also a must. There may be times when you get a call at 1 pm and you only have an hour to prepair for the interview, this is where being organized and ready at a moment’s notice will make the entire process smoother and less stressful.
4. Never read the newspaper.
While most of the job posting have moved from the newspaper to the internet, there are still many reasons to pick up a local or national newspaper. Take time to review the Business section of your local newspaper it is a great place to find out what businesses are coming into town or what businesses are leaving. You may also find information on company expansion or promotions (that will leave job openings).
All of these are insights into the future of the job market in your city, if you don’t pick up a paper you could be missing your dream job.
5. You didn’t follow up after Sending your Resume.
There are endless things that could happen to your resume after it leaves your hands or computer. It could get lost in the mail, lost in cyberspace, forwarded to the wrong person, land in a junk mail folder, or even eaten by a printer or fax machine.
For all these reasons, and more, it’s very important you follow up after you send your resume. A simple phone call or email stating, “Good afternoon, I sent my resume to you on Monday for the medical sales position; I’m calling to make sure it has been received” is a perfect example of how you can follow up!
If you are applying via online application you will want to call the HR department and say something like, “Hello, I filled out the online application for the Administrative assistant position on Friday. Could you tell me the status of that application? I want to be sure it was submitted correctly”. This will ensure your resume made it to the appropriate Hiring Manager safe and sound.
6. Spending a Lot of Time on your Social Media Pages
While social networking is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, it can however, give a perspective employer the wrong first impression. Spending too much time completing surveys, taking quizzes and uploading photos may give an employer the idea that you will spend too much time at work on your Facebook or Instagram pages… which is generally unacceptable.
Many people in the job market don’t realize how often perspective employers are Googling applicants and reviewing their personal social media pages before they decide if they are going to spend the time interviewing them.
7. You haven’t even gotten the job yet, but the first question you ask is, “when can I take vacation”.
Generally, topics like vacation should be left for when a job offer is made to you. Do not discuss these items in a first interview, unless an impending vacation is going to fall during the interview process. (Then politely state you will be out of town, but would be happy to complete a phone interview, if needed).
Remember that just because you have needs/wants/desires for the “perfect job,” does not mean an employer has to cater to those needs/wants/desires.
Being professional and diplomatic when discussing money, vacation time or hours is the best practice here; for instance if an employer offers you a job for $15 an hour and you need $18, simply ask, “Is there any room for negotiation on the salary? I was thinking more along the lines of $18 per hour.” The employer may say “no way, Jose” or they may be able to give you $16.50 or $17. Be polite, patient and professional and you may get closer to what you want.
8. You were “fashionably late” for a job interview.
There is no such thing as being fashionably late to an interview, it is unacceptable and gives the impression that you don’t respect the interviewer or his/her time. In a recent survey conducted by Vault.com 30% of employers stated a candidate “only needs to be 15 minutes late to be disqualified for a job and an astounding 12% said a candidate only needs to be 5 minutes late to disqualify them!
So make a note of this and DON’T. BE. LATE!
9. You didn’t ask questions in the interview.
According to a Vault.com survey, 82% of employers stated it is “extremely important” for a candidate to ask questions during an interview.
Many times your chance to ask questions will come at the end of the interview so be sure to come prepared with five to 10 questions ahead of time. It will help to type them out, and take the list with you to reference. You may only want to ask two or three, but chances are many of the questions you have on your list will be covered before you get the chance to ask.
Here are some good samples: “Could you tell me about the training program for this position?” “What company do you feel is your biggest competition?” “How did you get started in this industry?” “Is this an open position on a team, or a new position?” Asking questions re-affirms your interest in the position and shows you have prepared for the interview adequately.
10. Bad-mouthing a former employer and co-workers.
It may very-well be that your last employer was “the worst boss on earth” or that the last company you worked for was "a crap shoot", but it’s best to keep those opinions to yourself. This goes for before, during and after the interview.
If you are asked why you left your last position give a calm, diplomatic and professional response such as, “It turned out not to be the position I expected," or “I wanted to move on to a more challenging/more rewarding/more stable career field” would also do.
A job interview is not the place to air grievances and may give the impression that you aren’t a team player or have a personality that will conflict with others.
Cherie Richardson, President of Carter Recruiting