Don’t jeopardize your chance at a job offer by making these mistakes
Mistake 1: You arrive late
No matter how perfect a job candidate you are, arriving late to an interview sends a bad message to the employer. It indicates that you are not taking the job seriously.
Instead: Arrive about 10 minutes early. Because of traffic problems and the difficulty of finding exactly where you need to be, it may take some planning to arrive 10 minutes early. Drive the route a few days ahead of time. Check traffic predictions on a traffic app. If the employer’s facility is large, call the receptionist to find out exactly where the interview office is located. To be safe, you might even plan to arrive 30 minutes early, and wait in the parking lot until it is 10 minutes before your appointment.
Mistake 2: You are dressed too casually
These days, most businesses and healthcare employers have casual dress codes. However, this does not apply to interviews. If you arrive in scrubs, jeans, or other casual clothing, the employer may think you are not serious about the job opportunity.
Mistake 3: You make a negative first impression
First impressions count! If you fail to make eye contact, have poor posture, or smell strongly of cigarette smoke, you might make a bad impression. Making a bad first impression is hard to recover from, even if the rest of your interview goes well.
Instead: Be sure to smile, make eye contact, stand up straight, and offer a firm handshake. This goes for your interviewer as well as anyone else you meet. Treat the receptionist as respectfully as you treat the interviewer. If you smoke, try not to smoke in the car, to help prevent your clothes absorbing the odor. Try not to smoke right before the interview.
Mistake 4: You are texting before, during, or after the interview
Cell phones are everywhere, and most of us respond to them as soon as we get a notification. During an interview, this is a big mistake. It tells the interviewer that your phone is more important than your job.
Instead: Turn off your mobile phone before you enter the office, and leave it off until you are outside of the facility. Even if you have free time while you are waiting for the interviewer in a waiting room, you should not look at your phone. Instead, review your notes about the job; this will make you look more serious about the job.
Mistake 5: You know nothing about the employer and have no questions
With corporate websites so readily available, there is no excuse not to research your prospective employer. The hiring managers will expect that you know about the organization’s mission and history as well as its competitors. The interviewer will think you are unprepared if you do not have questions to ask.
Take some time to read the organization’s website. Search in Google News to see if any recent developments have been in the news. Read about the company’s competitors. Re-read the job description, and compile a list of about five questions that you have about the company or the job itself. Consider these questions to ask at a job interview
Mistake 6: Your body language is negative
If you slouch, frown, cross your arms, or look down while you are talking, you are using negative body language. This could send a message to the hiring manager that you lack confidence.
Instead: Practice your body language during a mock interview. Take a video of yourself, and see what you can do to project a more confident, open appearance. Ask advice from your teachers or friends on how you can improve your body language.
Mistake 7: You complain about your old job or your current boss
We have all had some jobs that weren’t the best, but keep these thoughts to yourself. If you complain during a job interview, the employer might think you will complain about your new job too.
Instead: When asked about why you are leaving your current job, use positive reasons. Rather than saying, “My boss doesn’t respect me,” or “the pay is terrible,” you should say something positive like, “I am looking for new challenges and more responsibilities.” Remember, the employer is looking for someone who will be a positive, productive member of the staff.
Mistake 8: You tell a lie or exaggerate your skills
This mistake seems like an easy one to avoid, but sometimes in an interview situation, honest people may be so eager to tell the interviewer what they want to hear that they will inadvertently say something that is not quite accurate.
Instead: Always be honest, even if you have to tell the interviewer that you don’t have a particular skill or experience level. If you accidentally lie, it’s not too late. Simply explain that you need to clarify something you said earlier, and then offer the accurate version.
Mistake 9: You talk too much, or don’t talk enough
Being nervous can cause us to do all sorts of strange things. Some people clam up and are too nervous to say more than a few words. Others start talking too much or too fast, and share too many details. Both of these approaches can hurt your chances.
Instead: Practice sample responses ahead of time during mock interviews. You want your responses to be informative enough to show the employer that you know your skills and will be a good fit for the position, but short enough to keep the listener interested.
Mistake 10: You ask how much the job pays
Even though the pay is probably one of the top questions in your mind, it is a mistake to talk about pay during the interview. Asking about pay gives the impression that all you care about is the paycheck. The interview is the time to tell the employer what you can do for them—not what you want them to do for you.
Instead: Don’t bring up the question of salary at all. If the employer happens to ask you about your expected salary, do not commit to an exact rate. You can say what you are expecting the salary range to be, and that you will be happy to discuss the exact salary if they decide to make you a job offer.
Mistake 11: You don’t send a thank you note
The hiring manager may be talking with dozens of candidates, and if you do not send a thank you email, he or she may think you are not interested in the job.
Instead: Write a brief thank you email. It only needs to be three or four sentences long. Make sure to include something interesting that you discussed during the interview. This adds sincerity to the note, and also to helps jog the interviewer’s memory about which candidate you were.
We hope these tips help you avoid these common mistakes during your next interview. Best of luck with your job search!
This article was provided by the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida. The Institute provides job training and career services for adults wishing to pursue careers as home health aides, medical billing and coding specialists, nursing assistants, patient care technicians, phlebotomists, and practicing nurses. Contact the Harris Casel Institute
for more information on our programs