8 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

There’s no two ways about it, interviewing for a new position is stressful. You can help eliminate some of the stress if you prepare in advance. But beside preparing for what to do and/or say, take the time to learn what NOT to do.

Avoid these pitfalls to put you ahead of the game.

Here’s a list of what you don’t want to do…

1. Not asking questions
Asking question shows you’ve done the research and you are informed about the company and the position for which you were interviewing. Not asking questions can indicate that you were not intellectually curious enough about the position and shows a lack of passion.

2. Forget to silence your cell phone
Although this one seems like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised to learn how many people forget to silence their cell phone before an interview. Having Stairway to Heaven ring from your jacket pocket will disrupt the interview and leave a strong impression on your interviewer… and not a good one.

3. Give a wimpy handshake
Please do not mistake the newest fad of the day… the fist bump, as an appropriate way to greet anyone in the business world. Many people don’t understand how quickly one is judged, fairly or not, on the quality of his or her handshake. If shaking hands has not been part of your daily routine, take the time to learn how to do it correctly now. Practice with someone to learn how to give a firm (not bone-crushing, and definitely not fishlike) handshake. One or two pumps of the arm and let go. That’s all there is to it.

4. Chewing gum or smoking
This seems like another no-brainer. But some people feel that chewing gum makes them look relaxed and self-confident. It doesn’t.

As far as smoking goes, people who smoke do not understand how offensive and strong the odor of cigarettes is to the non smoker. Of course, you can’t give up smoking just for an interview. But don’t be fooled into thinking that not smoking for 30 minutes and then popping a breath mint in your mouth will disguise the scent to the non smoker. It doesn’t. Instead, do not smoke for at least three hours before the interview and find a place to brush your teeth before you go into the interview.

5. Not dressing for the position above yours
You’ve heard the old adage, don’t dress for the position you have, dress for the position you want. It’s true, dressing too casually can give the impression that you are not serious about the job.

6. Complaining about past jobs or bosses
One of the questions you will most likely be asked is why did you leave your last position? Although you might be tempted to spew on about what a creep your boss was, or how you were overlooked for a promotion, keep all of that to yourself. The correct answer should be something along the lines of you were looking for more challenging work. Complaining about the past jobs one of the easiest ways to get passed on a new one.

7. Arriving too early
Arriving too early puts too much pressure on the interviewer. If he or she knows you are sitting in the waiting room, it throws them off schedule.  Now, they need to rush in order to accommodate you and not keep you waiting. Don’t put them in that awkward position. Announcing yourself five minutes before your scheduled time is ideal.

8. Arriving too late
However, if arriving too early is inconvenient for the interviewer, arriving too late is inexcusable. Take into consideration all potential situations in which you might end up arriving late, and plan accordingly. Such things as bad traffic, not knowing the directions, or running out of gas is no excuse. Something as unexpected (and highly unlikely) as getting a flat tire, is an excuse, but only if you call and reschedule as soon as you can.

It’s better to arrive early and sit in your car or a restaurant until the appropriate time…five minutes before your scheduled appointment.

Following these simple guidelines of knowing what not to do, will be as beneficial as knowing what to do.