Whiffing the Job Interview
So you applied to a handful of jobs, submitted your résumé and other materials, and waited for hiring managers to give you a call. And one did! Now you’re sitting down for a job interview, ready to wow your prospective employer with your knowledge and experience.
But job interviews have a funny way of going disastrously wrong, even if you think you’ve adequately prepared. While you can’t foresee every scenario that could potentially trip you up—it’s hard to deal with an aggressively negative hiring manager, for instance—you can prevent some nightmares by taking the following steps:
Turn Off Your Phone: Nothing wrecks the rhythm of an interview like a phone going off at the wrong moment. If you must leave it on (for example, you anticipate having to show your interviewer a Website or project you’ve designed), make sure the ringer is on silent or vibrate.
Don’t Talk Trash About Former Employers: Sure, it’s tempting to rail against all the wrongs at your previous company—but your interviewer doesn’t want to hear it. When in doubt, take the high road when answering questions about your old workplace.
Keep Your Background Consistent: Before heading into the job interview, make sure to review your résumé, because it’s a near certainty that your interviewer will bring up details from it. If there are inconsistencies between your résumé and what you say in the interview, it could knock you out of contention for the position; don’t give the interviewer a reason to become suspicious of your experience.
Don’t Ask About Salary: Negotiations over money can always come later. In the initial interview, refrain from asking about things like salary or perks. If the interviewer asks you questions about your preferred salary, deflect (nicely) until a later point.
Don’t Argue: You have opinions. Lots of them. But when answering an interviewer’s question, make sure you don’t lose your temper over your point of view.
Not Following Up
Even if the interview went badly, make sure to follow up with your interviewer. You never know when your good etiquette will be remembered, and you may end up interviewing with the company again at some point.