3 Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

3 Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job


Congratulations! You landed an interview. Whether it's your first or fiftieth, the same rules apply. You did all the work to get here: perfected your resume, wrote a cover letter, sifted, sorted and applied through numerous sites and job boards. Now is your big moment, and you don't want to blow it. These three cardinal sins of the interview process will do just that. Avoid these mistakes at all costs and make the professional presentation you're after!

1. Don't be late!!!

There is nothing worse than keeping a recruiter or hiring manager waiting on you. Their schedules are tight, and they slated times to speak with you that work around other appointments they must make. While they are looking forward to meeting, you can't and should never put their day in jeopardy by being late. This delay starts off the interview from a negative place that may be difficult to recover from, and the rushing can make you feel scattered and, even more, nervous.

Make every effort to be organized in advance of the actual interview. Prepare your outfit ahead of time and print out copies of your resume the night before. Make sure you've written down the address, the names of anyone you’re meeting, and you've done your research about the company. Plan your travel time accordingly; make sure you're there with a cushion of time. It gives you a chance to pull yourself together, ensure that you have everything you need, and a moment to take a deep breath before you walk in the door. Whatever mistakes you make, don't let the list include being tardy for your interview.

2. Not doing your homework.

Many people apply for jobs that sound like a good fit or apply based on a company/location that interest them. Most don't research or investigate the business and their public persona or profile. You need to do your research. Many companies include the question during an initial interview, what do you know about what we do? What do you know about our business? You can't blow this topic off. They're looking at why you're interested in working there and what about their company drove you to put in an application. This question provides an opportunity to show your interest, excitement, and level of preparedness for the actual interview. They don't want you just to recite facts from their website. Research the department you're interested in, examine their volunteer activities or philanthropic efforts. Explore the things about the company that drove you to submit an application in the first place.

There's much more to a business than just the “About” section on their website. If this is all you know, fine, but it shows a lack of real interest in the role. Employers want to know that the job is more than just a paycheck to you and that you have some investment in the company or the brand. This question can turn into a make or break moment. Sometimes enthusiasm can be the tipping point when many candidates are equal in requirements or skills. Make sure you're ready for this particular question at every interview. Even if it isn't your dream job, there's most likely a reason you applied there.

3. Putting too much emphasis on salary, bonuses or promotions.

The interview process is a bit of a dance. In the beginning, you follow the lead of the interviewer. Rarely does salary come up during an initial interview and it should not be brought up by you. It goes hand-in-hand with the last step as far as enthusiasm. Bringing it up right away sets the tone that money will be the ultimate decider or motivator for the role. While that may be the case, you have to play those cards close to the vest.  

You still need to be prepared for the discussion. If the interviewer does bring up salary, you need to have an answer. Avoid providing a number, if possible, let them lead, so you don’t undercut yourself or price yourself out of contention. To get an idea of what the pay is for that particular position in your area, check out websites like Payscale.com or Salary.com to get a ballpark figure. These sites usually provide a range based on various factors including your education and experience. While there is a margin of error, it's better than going in blind.

Avoid these three mistakes and improve the impression you make during your interview. These things can knock you out of contention very quickly and sour the interviewer’s perception of you. They may seem simple but can certainly do a world of harm and prevent you from landing a role you want!