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November 20, 2013
Three Common Mistakes That Can Kill Your Interview
Interviewing is both an art and a science. At times, it feels like there are over 100 moving parts that the candidate needs to synchronize perfectly in order to land that job. While many of them involve quick thinking, solid communication skills, and overall the right “fit” for the job, there are several that, when not properly executed, can essentially end the game before it has even really started. Here are what I view as three highly avoidable mistakes that, when committed, can at the least impact your chances for a job offer.
1. The Receptionist Matters
In most offices, someone mans that front desk to greet and receive you. While it is highly unlikely that you will ever be interviewed by that person, they nevertheless wield huge power in your pursuit of a job. As such, you need to treat them with respect and even turn up the likeability to a 10+ while in their presence. Dismissive, rude, and/or disrespectful behavior can doom you.
2. You Can Be TOO Early for an Interview
You’re scheduled to meet with the first interviewer at 1:00 p.m. Like a good job seeker, you leave enough time to get there so that you are not late. No traffic and a really early departure time leaves you in the parking lot at 12:20 p.m., 40 minutes before you are scheduled to be seen. You go inside and announce yourself.
Bad move. Interviewers are likely not sitting around hoping you show up super early. Instead, they are trying to keep up and get their work done. Sit in your car and wait. Go to a local coffee shop and grab a drink. Do anything to pass the time and then walk in 10 minutes before your scheduled meeting.
3. Your Phone Has an OFF Button…So Use It
If you ask your parents or grandparents, they will tell you that there was a time when we all were out of touch the moment we left our homes or offices. Back in the day, all we had was the landline that allowed for the only true form of rapid communication before there were cell phones and even email. Talking from experience, I can comfortably say that I survived my interviews in the ‘80s and ‘90s without needing to talk to my friends or family in the middle of each one. With that in mind, it is strongly advised that you turn off your device. Vibrate mode = distraction mode.

There are really important aspects of every interview that need to be your focus. It would be incredibly frustrating and disappointing for any job seeker to learn that their chances at a new job were lost because of a simple mistake like the ones I outlined. 

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David Lewis is CEO of two firms: OperationsInc, an 11-year-old Human Resources Consulting firm, and AllCountyJobs.com, a network of 29 regional job boards in the Northeast US. His firm just launched Job Search 101, a training program for recent and soon-to-be grads on how to find a job. Got to www.OperationsInc.com and www.AllCountyJobs.com for more info.
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