No matter how well you’ve prepared for a big job interview, no matter how good you are, one wrong move can blow the whole deal. As research by The Creative Group shows, it’s often the little things that matter.
For instance, using your cell phone during an interview would remove you from consideration with more than three-quarters (77%) of advertising and marketing executives surveyed.
When asked what other things would be job interview deal breakers, the executives picked the following things:
Showing up late without acknowledging it
Not bringing items that were requested (e.g., resume, portfolio, references)
Wearing improper interview attire
Speaking poorly of a past job or employer
If you want to avoid losing out on a good job over something stupid, follow these five tips from The Creative Group:
1. Pulling out your phone. Before entering the building, make sure your smartphone is turned off and put away. While you may be tempted to surf the Web or check social media while waiting in the lobby, it’s better to sit patiently and peruse company literature that’s available. When the interview begins, give the person you’re meeting with your undivided attention.
2. Being tardy. Showing up even a few minutes late could signal to the hiring manager that you have little regard for his or her schedule; worse, it could cause you to miss the meeting altogether. Plan for any traffic and arrive about 10 minutes early for your job interview — this also will give you time to calm any jitters. If you think you will be late, call ahead and explain the reason for the delay.
3. Arriving empty-handed. Don’t assume hiring managers will have all of your application materials with them. Print extra copies of your resume and bring a laptop or tablet with your online portfolio saved to the desktop so you can easily present it without an Internet connection.
4. Dressing too casually. Even if the company you’re meeting with is laid-back, it’s usually not a good idea to wear flip-flops and board shorts, unless you’re interviewing with a surfboard company. Do some research to find out the company’s dress code and choose an outfit that’s slightly more formal.
5. Complaining about a past job. Badmouthing former employers, colleagues or clients may lead hiring managers to question your professionalism and attitude. Although it’s OK — and often necessary — to discuss work-related challenges, show tact during these conversations. The ability to describe difficult situations diplomatically can turn the tables in your favor.
In today’s competitive job market, it’s not enough to have a great resume and stellar references. You have to be impeccable in every way possible. Start by avoiding simple mistakes.