Thursday, May 2, 2013

Outrageous Interview Mistakes that Include Lessons for Everyone - Part 2

On Tuesday's blog entry, I started the outrageous interview blunders list. This was inspired by recent news stories about just how little new college graduates know about the interviewing process. However, this is not a new trend, these outrageous stories have gone on - and will continue to go on - for years!

In 2011, did a survey of 2,400 hiring manager about the most damaging and most common mistakes that were made by interviewees. You can find the entire article here, but these are their top issues:

  • Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – 71 percent
  • Dressing inappropriately – 69 percent
  • Appearing disinterested – 69 percent
  • Appearing arrogant – 66 percent
  • Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer – 63 percent
  • Chewing gum – 59 percent
  • Not providing specific answers – 35 percent
  • Not asking good questions – 32 percent 

Let's look at a few more situations that I have experienced and see what we can learn from some of these common mistakes.

Mistake: I unwittingly walked into an interview taking place in a remotely located museum. The interviewee was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. He was sitting sideways in a chair with armrests and had one leg casually thrown over the arm. He looked as though he did not have a care in the world!

Lesson: It is estimated that up to 40% of your success in an interview is based on packaging - a combination of your appearance and body language. As I mentioned on Tuesday, 93% of how we communicate with the world is non-verbal. In an interview, do a "body language check" every few minutes to make sure you are sending the right message. Posture should be professional; sit up straight, hold your head high, and put your shoulders back to make a good impression.

Mistake: When I asked a candidate why they left their last job, they proceeded to rant for five minutes about how horrible it was to work for their previous company and boss.

Lesson: One of the reasons we ask this question in an interview is because you truly never know what people are going to open up their mouth and tell you. As a hard and fast rule, you should NEVER talk poorly about a former employer. No matter how much you feel you were in the right in the situation, telling a negative story about someone who is not there to defend themselves will always make you look like a "problem child." Instead, simply state that you decided to take your career in a new direction - this answer fits most every situation, from being terminated to a toxic work environment.

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