Job interviews are a lot like first dates. You dress in your most flattering clothes, smile a lot (but not so much that you’re creepy), you laugh at the right times, act interested, and try to make yourself sound interesting. Like first dates, interviews can go really well and leave you feeling like something amazing is about to happen to your life.
Interviews can also go so wrong that you fear no one will ever want you and you’ll be miserable for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, you don’t always know when the interview went wrong and what you could’ve done differently.
Fortunately, The Corner Office went straight to hiring managers to find out what job seekers are doing wrong during their interviews. They had plenty to say.
8 errors you can’t afford to make
When asked to identify the most detrimental mistakes job seekers make in interviews, employers cited:
- Appearing disinterested (57 per cent)
- Appearing arrogant (54 per cent)
- Dressing inappropriately (46 per cent)
- Talking negatively about current or previous employers (44 per cent)
- Chewing gum (42 per cent)
- Not providing specific examples (41 per cent)
- Answering a mobile phone or texting during the interview (39 per cent)
- Not asking good questions (28 per cent)
- Providing too much personal information (18 per cent)
The 9 worst body language mistakes
These mistakes, however, aren’t just things you say or actions you deliberately do. Sometimes you’re sending the wrong signals without even realizing it.
Take the top mistake: appearing disinterested. You might actually say the wrong thing that implies you’re not interested in the job or the interview, or your body might be saying it for you when you cross your arms and don’t make eye contact.
Here are the nine worst body language mistakes that employers witness:
- Failure to make eye contact (61 per cent)
- Bad posture (42 per cent)
- Failure to smile (35 per cent)
- Fidgeting too much in his or her seat (32 per cent)
- Playing with something on the table (31 per cent)
- Crossing their arms over their chest (31 per cent)
- Handshake that is too weak (30 per cent)
- Playing with hair or touching one’s face (23 per cent)
- Using too many hand gestures (20 per cent)
What you must do before you interview:
1. Prepare your answers
You can’t know everything an employer is going to ask you, but you should expect to be asked some basic questions. You don’t want to be caught saying “Uhh…” when asked an obvious question such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you want to work here?”
2. Record yourself
Although it might sound silly, watching yourself give a mock interview can reveal a lot of the body language mistakes you’re making. Use the camera on your phone or laptop to record yourself answering mock interview questions. You might be surprised to find out that you slouch, look at the table instead of the person across from you, or fidget with your pen.
3. Bring notes
Unless told otherwise, you can take notes with you into the interview, so jot down some questions you know you want to ask. Plus, you can take additional notes throughout the interview to show you’re interested and also to ask follow-up questions.
4. Put your phone away
Do not answer your phone or text someone during an interview. Ever. Make sure you’ve turned the phone off so it can’t unexpectedly ring or vibrate mid-interview.
Once you’ve set up your next interview, glance at these 17 mistakes and think about how you’ll avoid them. Polite manners and good body language can fix all of them and put you ahead of your competition.