Friday, October 23, 2009

10 Ways to Screw Up an Interview

3. Dress inappropriately. Regardless of the level of job for which you are interviewing, you should be dressed neatly and cleanly. For professional jobs, men should wear suits and women should wear professional office attire. For other jobs, neat business casual clothes will suffice. Flamboyant clothing or jewelry is a no-no. You do not want anything to distract attention from you and your qualifications for the job.

4. Don't participate in small talk. Many interviews begin with a little bit of small talk to set both you and the interviewer at ease. At all costs, avoid religion and politics as topics. Safe topics for small talk are the weather, sports (How ‘bout those Cubbies!) and whether you had any difficulty finding the location of the interview. Commenting on pictures or other items in the office is often very effective. However, make sure you are in the interviewer's office, rather than in one that was borrowed for the interview, before you comment on office accoutrements.

5. Be unable to talk about your work experience as listed on your resume. Many interviewers are not experienced and even some of the more experienced ones will use your resume as a guide for the interview. Be prepared to speak in depth about everything you have on your resume. If you can, practice interviewing with a friend or career counselor. Practice may not make perfect, but it will sure help you polish your interview skills and will put you towards the front of the pack.

6. Be unfamiliar with the job. The more you know about the job and the company (or agency), the better you will be able to present yourself as the solution to the employer's needs. If you are in a serious job search, you might have done a lot of company research before you got the interview. If you haven't done such research, do what you can before the interview. Sources for information can be:

• The Internet. Either the company's web site or sites dealing with the occupation or industry.
• The library. Trade periodicals or books such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook are helpful.
• Networking. Talk to people who are familiar with the job or company. Even if you don't know anyone with the knowledge you require, you very likely know someone who knows someone who has that knowledge. Networking begins with asking questions, so don't be afraid to ask others for information.

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