Job interviews can be a frustrating experience.
Sometimes you can walk away from one thinking you nailed it, only to never receive a call from that employer again. That’s because, in some cases, we’re blowing the opportunities without even realizing it. So to help ensure that you never go to one unprepared again, the folks with Canada AM sat down with Corporate Trainer Diane Proctor to get the scoop right from the mouths of CEOs themselves. Here are the biggest mistakes they mentioned:
Not researching the company
Never go to an interview without having a comfortable understanding about the company you may one day work for, Proctor says. Check if the company has won awards, or purchased any other businesses — or even how long they’ve been operating. Then find ways to drop some of that knowledge during the actual interview. But if you really want to impress your potential boss, go in having researched them. Try to figure out exactly what they do for the company, and look to establish as much commonality as possible.
Going in underdressed
Whatever you think is an appropriate outfit for your interview, take it up a notch. In other words, if you’re going in with a sport jacket and dress pants, upgrade that to a shirt and tie. Even though dressing well for an interview seems like it falls under the realm of common sense, this was one of the larger complaints from CEOs, according to Proctor.
Having a limp handshake
Proctor says that a potential employer decides within three seconds of meeting you whether they’re going to like you or not. Three seconds! That’s why having a firm, confident handshake is key. To make sure you do, follow the belly-button rule (you’re facing your employer straight on) and focus on maintaining eye contact throughout.
Not bringing anything
You don’t want to show up to an interview with your Starbucks order, but you don’t want to come empty-handed either. Proctor recommends keeping it simple: A portfolio, an extra resume, a pen and some paper. And please, PLEASE ensure your phone is off.
Mucking up the follow up
There’s a fine line between looking eager and annoying your potential boss. To get around that, ask the interviewer what the best time to follow up would be while you’re still in the interview. But according to Proctor, this next part is key: After you leave, send the employer a hand-written note thanking them for the opportunity. In a time where everyone sends emails, this will help you stand out.
Not keeping in touch
If you left the interview feeling really great about it, and felt like you connected with the employer, then don’t give up all hope if you don’t end up getting the position. The employer may have actually liked you, but moved forward with another candidate for reasons beyond your control. When this happens, try to stay in touch. When that next position eventually opens with the same company, that connection will pay off.
For more information on how to nail your next job interview, check out the video above.