Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You The Job

I always want to make sure I am giving the best possible advice, so when the topic of interviewing surfaced with my college blogger, I decided to do some additional research.

I reached out to a good friend and long time colleague of mine who happens to be a high level and very experienced recruiter. I asker her if she could share with me some of the biggest mistakes potential candidates make during the interview process. She was happy to oblige, so keep reading if you want an insider’s edge! These tips come right from her:

Let's start with email addresses. If you're looking for a job, consider changing your email address from something cute or funny to something professional. Most people use some variation of their name. Although is cute, it is not professional.

As for attire, I always tell people it is better to overdress than underdress. I work for a high tech company and while there are a number of employees who wear jeans to work, we expect our candidates to come professionally dressed for an interview. The Engineering or IT candidates might not come in wearing a suit and that's OK, but I still think the men should be wearing nice trousers and a buttoned down shirt/sweater and/or sport coat. They can skip the tie. Same idea for the women in those functional disciplines--smart trousers, a blazer and blouse or twin sweater set.

We had a candidate not long ago who was interviewing for a job in IT and he came wearing jeans and a sweater. Trendy and fashionable but even the hiring manager was turned off that he was not dressed more appropriately for the interview.

Jeans are just never a good choice no matter how casual the environment.

Socks--I had a guy in recently who was interviewing for a public relations job. I was fixated the whole interview on his socks. They were red and white stripped. They reminded me of the wicked witch from the wizard of Oz!

Shoes--Make sure your shoes are in good shape!

Fingernails--I always notice a person's nails. Women with polish better make sure they are chip free. I hate it when men have long nails.

Cologne/Fragrance--There's always one person who comes in with really strong cologne or fragrance and I end up coughing through the whole interview.

Handshake--I recently had two different men shake my hand and nearly crush it. One man shook it so hard that it actually hurt for a few minutes afterwards.

Water bottle--I'm OK with a candidate bringing their own water bottle to the interview, but it should be a small bottle and they should be discreet about it. It is easy for a woman to carry it in her handbag or tote. Please candidates, do not carry in a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, it just doesn't look good!

Body language and facial expressions--Smile! Do not constantly interrupt the interviewer. Sit up straight but try to look relaxed. Don't play with your hair. Don't tap your pen. It is fine to take some notes but don't write non-stop during the interview. Look interested and engaged.

Temperature in the interview room--If you are too warm in the interview room, politely tell the interviewer that its a bit warm and ask if they'd mind if you took off your suit jacket. I'd rather a candidate ask me that than to start sweating profusely. It can create an embarrassing situation.

Inappropriate comments--Do not talk about your marital status, your age, or any unrelated personal information. It is unnecessary and inappropriate.

Thank you notes--This is a big one. Always, always send a thank you email within 24 hours to everyone you interviewed with that day. Write something specific and relevant to your conversation with each person. Do not send the same thank you note to each person. A lot of times the interviewers will forward their thank you note to the hiring manager and the hiring manager would be able to see that you wrote the exact same thing to every person. Always send a thank you via email as snail mail takes too long. Thank you notes can be a deal breaker. If you don't send one, you might not get the job. Do not tell the recruiter/HR person to forward your thank you along to everyone you met with. If you didn't get the email address of everyone you interviewed with, simply ask the Recruiter/HR person to send you the email addresses.

Follow up--Ask the interviewer if you can follow up with them and when would be a good time to do so. I generally tell my candidates to please follow up if they haven't heard from me by a particular date. I like people to be proactive. That said, don't be a stalker.

If you have any comments you’d like to share or questions about your upcoming interview, please feel free to comment in the comments section below.

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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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