A good recruitment consultant should provide solid interview preparation ahead of a candidate interview. Despite this, Client & Company feedback always contain an overwhelming amount of simple mistakes.
Unfortunately, you cannot drum up more years’ experience than your competitor or add further qualifications to your C.V. overnight. So it’s even more gutting when candidates miss out on a dream job due to simple interview blunders.
1. Being late
It’s one of the hardest things to recover from in an interview. Turning up late is not only rude, it disturbs your interviewers work schedule & suggests your time is more important than theirs.
‘Google says I can get a train there in half an hour.’ My advice is to refer to Google again to find a coffee shop near your interview & get there an hour before your interview time. This will cover your back if there are unexpected delays & give you time to relax & collect your thoughts before the interview itself.
2. Not looking the part
‘…But I wore my best suit?!’ You cannot underestimate people’s varying interpretations of what actually constitutes as formal attire. If you’re told its formal wear - double check with a question like ‘Presume that’s a blazer and tie?’ That will prompt further explanation & raise any ‘no no’s.’
Some hiring managers like character (especially in the creative industries) so when you get a chance, ask for an example of what your specific hiring team will prefer.
Fellas! Did your recruitment consultant or HR rep advise you turn up freshly shaved? Then why have I experienced so much Client feedback that you weren't’t?! If that’s the advice, don’t presume you look OK. Shave on the morning of your interview regardless.
Generally; I’d ensure you look clean cut & neat & tidy. Looking scruffy or un-ironed suggests you’re unorganised & not entirely dedicated to the position. Avoid revealing clothes & be wary about wearing garish colours, consider the fact you never know how they’re going to be interpreted.
3. Lack of research
One of the most common interview questions is ‘What do you know about us/the Company?’ You should spend as much time revising the content of your C.V. as you should the company itself. This includes the company history & vision, their clients, company objectives & biographies of key management (available on the website). This shows dedication to that particular company rather than just your own desire for a job.
If you volunteer ongoing information about the company throughout your interview, you’ll be sure to bring a smile to the hiring manager’s face.
4. Lack of Eye Contact
Lack of eye contact is usually down to nerves & unfamiliarity. It also suggests you’re unsure or disconnected. My advice (at the very least) would be to hold genuine eye contact at the beginning of your answers & at the end. Better still; smile. Smiling is the original ice breaker which promotes eye contact & positive engagement for both parties throughout.
5. A Weak handshake
If you get a handshake opportunity, don’t offer a feeble handshake as an over sight for following someone into a room or getting into your seat. Take your time. A strong handshake suggests determination & confidence. It offers a pause & tells the person, ‘I’m here to see you & I’ve got your attention.’
If you’re unsure what your handshake is like. Shake a friend’s hand & get them to rate it!
Tim Lawrie, Founder & Manager at Projectus Consulting.