The biggest "No-No's" in a job interview
We take a look at the things you really should avoid during an interview if you want a shot at your dream job.
1. Timing is everything!
It seems like the simplest thing in the world, but being late to a job interview is as common as it is destructive to career prospects. You must always leave enough time to get to the interview. You never know what's going to happen on the roads, or the train-tracks, and it's not worth missing out on a job because someone ran a red light or dropped their phone off the platform.
Of course there is the quieter, more subtle sibling of lateness and that is the disconcerting habit of being too early. I once had a candidate turn up 45 minutes early for an interview. Strangely almost as irritating as being late! Sit in a coffee shop if you get there that early, don't come and sit in my reception staring at a wall or flipping through a magazine. It makes you seem both disorganised and inefficient.
Now the follow up, to make sure your scheduling isn't detrimental to your future employment, whether you're late or early, make sure it's the first thing you explain. Don't just apologise, make sure your interviewer knows that your reasons are legitimate. And more importantly, if you're going to be more that 10 minutes late, call them and tell them. The reason? Their time is valuable and that 10/15 minutes is enough time to read those half dozen emails that they hadn't got round to opening yet. It's the decent thing to do and it might just win you back some brownie points!
2. Look the part.
Some people think that the way you look is the least important thing in an interview, especially if you have a kickass CV loaded with experience and academics, but they are wrong. Your appearance can have the same effect as you time-keeping. It establishes your footing in the first 5 seconds of the interview, either in your favour or against you, and you may as well make sure you have the best starting point possible. They say an interviewer makes up their mind in those first 5 seconds so its got a lot to do with that all important first impression.
The key things? Overly smart is better than overly casual. Always. But do some research about what the tone of the company is. If it's a creative agency where everyone wears jeans and t-shirts, you don't want to turn up in a Saville Row three-piece suit and monocle. You've lost the 'fit' fight before you've started. But on the flip side, you don't want to turn up in your sweats when the whole place is suited and booted. Get a feel for the company before you go.
And make sure you have those key bits of personal maintenance sorted: Tidy up your hair, shave that pesky overnight stubble, don't overdo the makeup, imagine the most hireable version of yourself and aspire to that, whatever it may be!
3. Know your stuff...
Its tedious, time-consuming, potentially a waste of effort, and yet prepping for an interview is vital for career success. Know the company, know the job description, and (unsurprisingly*) know your CV like the back of your hand. Finding out that the company is going to be opening a new office in central London and that this particular role is going to include managing the transition to the new office seems like a good idea... Right? Even if you have a lot of interviews scheduled, make sure you've broken down the details for each one so you don't get confused, and you don't look like you're going for a scattergun approach. You want this company to know they are who you want to work for, because it's the prefect job at the perfect time in the perfect place for the perfect company, and you know it!
On a side note, bring a copy of your CV. The interviewer should have one but just on the off chance that they've forgotten theirs, you'll be on hand to provide. Plus, you might even get a sneak peek if you need a refresher on the nitty-gritty details.
4. Excuses, excuses...
Just be honest about where you've been and what you've done. They don't need to know that Janet in Marketing was a nightmare manager who threw pens at you whilst passive-aggressively emailing you about the status of documents she hadn't even asked for yet. Keep it clean, objective and honest. This will show maturity in both your handling of difficult situations and your autonomous career choices. Be positive about previous work. Try to avoid negativity in the general as it doesn't come across well. Just remember, they want to know why you did the job, what you learnt, and what makes you right for their role. That is all.
You're there to sell yourself. I mean, technically they want to sell themselves to you too, but you don't really need to worry about that right now. Focus! This about you and how amazing you are. Stick to the basics. Be open and friendly, on time and well dressed, ready to fire out some well-rounded answers, and with those building blocks, you'll find yourself perfectly placed to land the next job you really want!