By Joe Stein
Avoid Interviewer Pet Peeves
Most Hiring Managers have interviewed for a number of years. Over that time, they most likely have developed the same interview “pet peeves” as many of their colleagues.
This week we are going to take you inside the mind of the Hiring Manager, specifically focusing on what rubs him or her the wrong way. In today’s competitive environment, avoiding your interviewer’s hot buttons might be just what you need to earn the position you are seeking.
Below are some of the most common errors made by a Job Seeker that grates on an interviewer like fingernails on a chalkboard.
- Arriving late for the interview – For an interviewer, the belief is that if you can’t be timely for an interview, you will not be punctual for work. Arrive for the interview between 10 and 15 minutes early.
- Have Poor Hygiene – Showering and overall grooming is very important for an interview at any level. Do not mask yourself with cologne or perfume. Scents should be used sparingly or avoided for fear of offending an interviewer, especially if the person is allergic. If you are a cigarette smoker, avoid smoking at minimum the day of the interview. Most non-smokers are very sensitive to the scent of cigarettes and do not find it appealing.
- Not Dressed Professionally – Make sure your clothes are clean and in good physical condition. Always dress appropriately for an interview. Avoid sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts for any level position. Wear minimal jewelry and certainly nothing that will be distracting.
- Chew gum or use mints – This is often done to help offset a stressful time and to keep your mouth moist. As you get closer to the time of your interview, discard your item and do not use it during the interview. It is distracting to the interviewer as they focus on what is in your mouth and not on what you are saying.
- Using Slang Terms – Interviewers expect a certain level of oral communication skills. They also expect you to speak in terms they will understand. Do not use particularly trendy terms that will not be understood.
- Avoiding All Eye Contact – We all know that interviewing can be a very stressful occasion and that speaking about yourself may not be something that comes natural. A job seeker must, however, use eye contact and try to make a conversation out of the interview. Also some interviewers may interpret your lack of eye contact as a sign you are trying to avoid the real answer to a question.
- Arrive With Your Parents or Friends – You alone should arrive for your interview. Leave the moral support for before and after the interview. Any Hiring Manager fears having a parent meddling into their child’s work situation and will do whatever it takes to avoid the situation.
- Show Up Unprepared – At minimum, know whom you are interviewing with and for what position. Preferably, you should have researched the company and can conduct a conversation with the interviewer. With today’s Internet access, there is little excuse to not doing your research.
- Act Like You Have Someplace Else To Be – Your goal is to secure a job, anything less and you should not be there. You need to be alert, sit-up straight, listen carefully, do not gaze at the wall, and do not keep looking at your watch. By all means, turn off your cellular phone. It should not ring, nor vibrate during the interview.
- Badmouth Your Former Company or Boss – No Hiring Manager wants to listen to how much you hated your last boss or how the company mistreated you. The thought being that if you are doing it now what will you say about the next company you work for. Take the highroad when speaking of the past.
- Acts Arrogant – We all have things that we are not perfect at. You know the interviewer will ask what is something you want to work on, so be prepared to show some humility. You can always turn the answer around to make it sound much more positive. Also, avoid long-winded, rambling answers. An experienced interviewer will work hard to redirect your answers, but it still ends up being frustrating for the person asking the questions. Treat everyone you meet with respect including the receptionist. An interviewer will often ask everyone you meet what he or she thought of you.
- Lacks Confidence – This is not a pass to be arrogant, but an interviewer wants a candidate who can describe their strengths and speak of their past experiences. A candidate who does not speak makes for one boring interview. It usually ends up being a pretty short interview as there is nothing to talk about. A prepared job seeker has a pretty good idea of what questions will be asked, so ready answers to these common questions and deliver them.
- Changing Your Story – Your version of events should stay consistent. Your phone screen responses should match your resume and all should be the same in the interview. Any variations will serve to be an irritant to the interviewer as they try to decipher what really happened.
- Asks Inappropriate Questions – The first interview is not the time to be asking specific pay questions, or how many breaks are given. This gives the interviewer the impression that you are solely interested in yourself and doing the minimum required and not the position and the company.
Interviewers are generally a pretty optimistic lot. They go into every interview thinking or at least hoping that the next one will be the one that will be hired. Your candidacy will significantly improve its chances by simply avoiding interviewers’ pet peeves.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional