You only have one opportunity to make a first impression, so it is crucial to have the necessary tools to thrive in a professional interview. As the President and CEO of the staffing agency, WorkSteer, Joe Visser takes the time to highlight some of the most common interview mistakes among potential candidates. With a passion for helping others, Joe is here to steer you in the right direction.
1. Arriving Too Late or Too Early
Although it may seem obvious, it is imperative to arrive several minutes early to your scheduled appointment. Joe claims that running late can suggest a lack of punctuality and poor time management skills, whereas being on time is an effective way to showcase your interest in the position. Joe also reminds individuals not to arrive too early, as you do not want to disrupt an employer’s schedule. He therefore, recommends checking in anywhere from five to ten minutes ahead of time.
2. Seeming Unprepared
From preparing a concise and definitive ‘tell me about yourself’ answer, to researching the company and your interviewer, preparation is key to making a positive first impression. As is the case with the following four mistakes, try to put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer. If you have worked hard to build or grow a business, you will want to hire someone as enthusiastic, hardworking, and ambitious about it as you are. You want to be able to impress your interviewer by easily identifying company initiatives, projects, achievements, and pillars, so do not skip out on this crucial step.
3. Not Looking the Part
It is essential to perform research ahead of time to ensure your appearance aligns with the expectations of the company. Dressing appropriately shows the employer that you are serious about the position and displays a strong understanding of professionalism. Arriving in the right attire sets a standard, and also shows that you are willing to adjust to company culture.
4. Displaying Low Energy
Next, your interviewer wants you to be focused, alert, and present. Do not let yourself zone out during an interview. Getting distracted and missing a question is going to be a red flag for any employer. This may be especially hard if your interview is taking place in a public space, but make an active effort to listen attentively. Joe Visser explains that your interviewer wants to feel like this is important to you, so showcase that by being present.
5. Not Asking the Right Questions
An interview is an opportunity to showcase enthusiasm, ingenuity, and initiative. Once your interview is over and it is your turn to ask questions, do not show up unprepared. Joe Visser explains that it is important to remember that an interview is a two-way street, not only is your interviewer seeing if you’re a good fit, but you should be doing the same. Ask questions that provide crucial insight into the company: What is your company’s greatest challenge right now? What is your favorite aspect of working for this company? Is there opportunity for growth? Avoid questions about paid leave, salary, and other superficial questions. Even the questions you ask will be judged by your interviewer, so make sure that they are thoughtful.
Lastly, once your interview is over, ask about next steps and send a follow-up e-mail shortly after you leave. Failing to do this is one of Joe Visser’s pet peeves, as it shows a major lack of interest. Asking about next steps shows initiative and provides you with a realistic timeline, so you know when you expect to hear back. Sending a follow-up e-mail thanking the interviewer for their time, and re-iterating your interest in the position, is a great way to make a lasting impression. Depending on the timeline they give you, Joe Visser also suggests following-up if you haven’t heard anything for over a week.