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Friday, March 11, 2011

5 Things to Avoid While Interviewing

Written by, Nancy McCreery
Recruiting Manager
Stamford, Connecticut

We've all heard stories of candidates who looked great on paper but who were the total opposite in person. With fewer and fewer interview opportunities available in this competitive market, it's vital to make the best possible first impression. You can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the top 5 interview blunders or no no’s.

Poor handshake: The three-second handshake that starts the interview is your first opportunity to create a great impression. But all too often an interview is blown right from the start by an ineffective handshake. Once you've delivered a poor handshake, it's nearly impossible to recover your efforts to build rapport. Ask for honest critiques from several friends who aren't afraid to tell you the truth. Make it a firm handshake and look the interviewer right in the eye while doing so.

Talking negatively about current or past employers/managers: The fastest way not to be considered for the positions you are interviewing for is to say negative things about your current or past employer. No matter how reasonable your complaints, you will come out the loser if you show that you disrespect your boss because the interviewer will assume that you would similarly say the same things about him or her. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.

Turn ALL electronics off: A quick way to have your interviewer show you to the elevator is to have your cell ring or vibrate during the interview. Never, never, never talk on your cell or read text messages during an interview even it is the President of the United States calling you. Turn your cell phone off; your interviewer should have your complete attention.

Not preparing for the interview: Nothing communicates disinterest like a candidate who hasn't bothered to do pre-interview research. On the flip side, the quickest way to a good impression is to demonstrate your interest with a few well thought out questions that reflect your knowledge of their organization. Do your homework, reach the company’s website, view profiles on LinkedIn, see if you know anyone that works at the company; ask them why they work there and why they consider it a great place to work. The more you know about the company before you step in the door for in the interview the better.

Letting your guard down: Keep it professional. Some interviewers often try to create a comfortable setting to ease the candidate’s nerves, but business etiquette shouldn’t disappear. Avoid offering personal details that have no relevance to the position, such as religious beliefs or stories about your personal life.

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