First, hold the nightmares!
Let me start by saying, we are not making this up. These "Don'ts" are based on true horror stories exhumed from LeaderStat's Tales from the Nightmare Interview Crypt:
- Post a LinkedIn profile that features bare shoulders and an adorable pout.
- Quaff a few cocktails to calm your nerves before a phone interview.
- Forget your upper partial and show up for an interview smiling, minus the four most critical front teeth.
- Get more comfy by kicking off your shoes.
- Fabricate a tragic and unexpected death in the family to explain a missed interview.
- Refer to a racial or ethnic group as "those people."
- Spend 30 minutes elaborating on your sincerely held political convictions.
- Explain crimes divulged through a background check by claiming a sibling with an identical name.
- Arrive in a swimsuit cover-up with three young children parked in the lobby.
- Regale your interviewer with potty humor, catch a nap while waiting in the lobby, blow your nose loudly to "clear your head for thinking," cry, or develop an obsession with the ceiling tile over the interviewer's head.
Second, avoid these common mistakes
We were having a little fun by sharing some rare, absurd gaffes we have encountered, but here are some commonplace mistakes that are all too easy to make:
- Post anything on social media you wouldn't personally share with the company's CEO.
- Stretch the truth. Those little exaggerations catch up with you.
- Over-explain a blot on your record. Say it and stop, so the unfortunate event doesn't become the main takeaway from the interview.
- It may be Casual Friday at the company, but there is no such thing as a casual interview. Notwithstanding specific instructions to come in business casual, wear your best professional attire.
- Ask your list of questions prematurely. When you are invited to ask questions, the rule of thumb is: explore the position pre-offer, explore the benefits and pay post-offer.
Third, think like a scout!
Bobby Knight said "The key is not the will to win....everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important." So....
The single most important thing you can do prior to an interview is review your work history, think of all the questions you may be asked, and fashion responses that are truthful, complete and concise. Be sure that when you consider your primary accomplishments, you find ways of quantifying them with metrics to demonstrate the tangible value added.
- Prepare (Bears repeating)
Having framed your responses in your head or in writing, practice delivering them! The mirror works fine, as does a spouse, friend or even your labradoodle. You need a tough critic who won't gloss over your slip-ups (okay, then, maybe not your labradoodle).
- Now be yourself
What? After all that practice? Yes. Canned responses are poison, so let the conversation flow naturally. All your practice will enable you to draw from your scripts smoothly to find the right words. Plus, you won't have to rack your brain to remember the time you worked all weekend to save the day at Burnemout Inc.!
One caveat to being yourself: PRACTICE RESTRAINT. Stop when you have answered the question, and wait for a follow-up question before continuing.
Combine these "Don'ts" and "Do's" with a prompt arrival and a slightly restless "let-me-at-'em" look in your eye, and you have the recipe for the dream interview!