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10 things NOT to do during an interview…

07 November 2016

Going to an interview can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re not well prepared. Employers can be very picky during the interview process and with little preparation, even the most suitable candidate can lose their chances of being selected.

Before anything, assess whether you have a genuine interest in the company and position - this should be decided before you even apply for the position! You don’t want to arrive at an interview to discover you dislike the company’s products and don’t believe in the way they work. I’ve heard from consultants about candidates who have gone for interviews and told the prospective employer that they have no interest in their products. One candidate even answered with the name of a competitor’s product when asked about their favourite flavour!

To pass the interview stage, it’s essential to have everything covered. Through my previous blog, you already know what hiring managers want from you during an interview, but what about the things you should avoid? Here are the top 10 things not to do during an interview.


1. Arriving late 

Showing up late immediately establishes a bad impression, but arriving early can also be a drawback. When a candidate arrives early, it’s frustrating for the interviewer as they may feel under pressure to stop what they are doing. Arrive 10-15 minutes before, giving yourself enough time to know your surroundings and mentally prepare. When spending a day out in field with the Sales Director of a prospective employer, a candidate ended up falling asleep in the car – don’t let this happen to you! Get a good night’s sleep so you are bright and attentive for the interview. Don’t stay up late, this is not the right time to go out partying – leave that for when you’ve got the job! So put down the jaeger bomb and get a hot chocolate instead. 


2. Leaving your phone on loud

To avoid distractions during the interview, make sure you switch off any electrical devices. No matter how much you like listening to Dr. Dre, it’s probably not a good idea walking in with music blaring out your headphones! Avoid the temptation to browse through your phone whilst you’re waiting in reception – this can come across unprofessional. During one interview a candidate answered their phone halfway through and actually stepped away from the interviewer to take it for 1 minute. The best thing to do is turn your phone off completely – even the vibration can be a distraction. 


3. Swearing and talking rudely 

How you interact with people on all levels says a lot about your personality. Stay friendly throughout the whole interview process, no foul or abusive language. You might end up being in the lift with your interviewer without knowing – so be polite from the moment you enter the building to when you leave. 


4. Dressing inappropriately

An interview isn’t a casual meeting, so you must dress professionally unless told differently. If you are advised to go in dressed casual; make sure you do that! A candidate once turned up to an interview at a craft brewery in a 3-piece suit - even though he was advised to go casual. To avoid any issues on the day, sort your outfit out the night before – no creases or stains please! The main thing is to look clean and presentable. Take time to go to the washroom before you go into your interview to ensure you still look as presentable as you did when you left home. Oh and remember to check if there’s anything stuck in your teeth!

5. Asking about holiday and salary

Never ask about your holiday allowance or salary during an interview. Bringing up money can send the wrong message to the interviewer. This is something that should be discussed once you’ve been offered the job. If you’re the right candidate, then the employer may bring this up in conversation. Alternatively, if you’re working with a recruitment consultant, they can take care of this for you. 


6. Ignoring the basics

You would be expected to know basic things and have an understanding of what the company does. There was a candidate who attended an interview having not gone into the retailer and looking at the current product range prior to the interview. The candidate then went on to admitting to the company that they hadn’t been in. This shows complete lack of interest and failure to understand the product range. Browse through the website and learn about how the company operate, try to research in every way possible! If you have any questions, ask your recruitment consultant. 


7. Having nothing to ask

Remaining silent when given the opportunity to ask questions will lead the employer to think that you’re not interested and haven’t prepared. Employers want to see that you want to know more about the company and the role, so make sure you ask away. This can also give an indication into how you think. This is the perfect chance for you to understand whether the job is a good fit for you and what a typical day entails. 


8. Telling fibs

Anything written on your CV and said during your interview should be the truth. Even if you get the job you can still be dismissed. Your employer will find out sooner or later about anything you’ve lied about; if you claim to hold a world record, make sure your name is actually in the Guinness World Records. Stay honest at all times and if you’re unable to answer any questions then tell them frankly - do not try to give wrong or irrelevant answers. Don’t do what one candidate did and tell the interviewer that you’ve called in sick to attend the interview.


9. Bringing a strong smell

Avoid eating smelly foods before the interview – you may love the taste of garlic, but trust me this is one experience you don’t need to share with your interviewer! If you’re a smoker, try not to smoke before your interview. The smell of cigarettes lingers on your fingers and can be quite noticeable, particularly in a small interview room. Also, carry a deodorant with you in case you need to use it, from experience we know that interviewing a candidate with bad BO can make it very uncomfortable and off-putting. 


10. Talking negatively about employers

Be positive, even when it comes to talking about your current or previous employers. You don’t want the risk of finding out that someone at the company you’re interviewing at knows one of your previous employers. No matter how much of a nightmare your old boss may be, criticising previous employers / managers portrays you as a difficult person to manage. 


If you have any questions regarding interview best practice or need help with recruiting the best talent, get in touch with New Chapter today. 

Don’t forget to follow New Chapter on LinkedIn for more hintsand tips. Good luck!

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