You're Self-Sabotaging in Interviews if You Accidentally Do Any of These 10 Things

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May 30, 2024 at 1:6PM UTC
Whether you consider yourself a charismatic interview expert or you loathe the idea of selling yourself to a hiring manager, nailing a job interview often comes down to the smallest details about your personality.
Having a hard time landing a new job?
It’s possible you might be doing something very little to turn your interviewing manager off—something you might not even realize you’re doing—that can easily be avoided.
Below, we spoke to hiring managers and career coaches to understand exactly what little habits or interview-related faux pas may actually be sabotaging your chance at getting the job (or at least the second interview!).

1. Choosing not to disclose vital information

‘When I am bringing someone into my company, one of the worst things they can do in an interview is to not disclose information that I can see on their resume,” explains Ethan Taub, CEO of Goalry.
“If they have had time away from employment, ro worked somewhere that is a competitor to us, I would rather us have a conversation about it now than when you are hired and it could cause problems.”
Sometimes, these problems can be solved very easily, without the need to make it difficult for anyone. Be honest in these situations and you will win the trust of the hiring managers and the people interviewing you every single time.

2. Not paying attention to the impact of your surroundings

According to Elizabeth Meyer, Recruiter and Hiring Consultant in Seattle, the number one way in which people sabotage a professional interview is underestimating the impact of your surroundings and background while interviewing virtually.
“The pandemic has forced most interviews, especially initial interviews, online. While interviewers now expect the circumstances to be different, too often, job seekers forget how any visual that is within the shot of the camera will be seen by the interviewer,” shares Meyer. “You want your interviewer to be focused on your face, presence, and words only..”
Are you sitting in your car, holding a phone in front of you for the duration of the interview? Sitting on your bed and leaning against pillows?
Positioning your laptop in view of your family or partner walking around behind you? The key is to set up a quiet office (or fake one!) that looks stable and put together for your interview.

3. Forgetting to send a thank-you email

According to Ju Li, Former Hiring Manager and Founder of BuyLo, taking the time to send a simple thank-you email is very basic stuff—but most don’t bother to do it.
“The profile I usually hire for are junior analysts/developers and one thing interviewees must do is send a thank-you email post-interview,” shares Li. “Why? It’s simple: When deciding between two equally qualified candidates, the thank you email indicates interest (you give enough of a damn to email us!) and provides us with some ammunition to argue in your favor.”

4. Not asking any questions about the role

Employers like to hire someone who’s being careful and selective in their job hunt, not just looking for the first role they’re offered. This ensures they’re hiring someone who will enjoy the role, maintain a positive attitude, and likely stay for longer.
“One of the clearest ways to demonstrate that you’re being careful in your job hunt is to ask great questions about the position,” shares Biron Clark, Founder of Career Sidekick.
“Whereas, not asking any questions will leave the interviewer with serious concerns about whether you’re interested, and how seriously you’re taking your job hunt, which can cost you job offers even if the rest of your interview went well.”

5. Having a handshake that’s too soft or too hard

“Believe it or not, the quality of your handshake is still something that hiring teams discuss behind closed doors after you’ve left the interview,” says Clark. “It’s often the first impression you make, so it’s worth practicing.”
Of course, nobody will be hired for their handshake alone (especially during the pandemic!), but a bad handshake really can set a surprisingly poor tone for the interview and distract from your positive qualities and qualifications. 

6. Poor eye contact

If you struggle to maintain eye contact in an interview, it may be perceived as a lack of confidence, says Clark. One of the best things you can do to prepare for an interview is to practice your eye contact.
“Most candidates have an easier time maintaining eye contact while listening but more difficulty while speaking, so practice while speaking in particular.”

7. Forgetting the interviewer’s name

“Always repeat the interviewer’s name when you first hear it so that you’re more likely to remember,” suggests Clark. “Failing to remember at the end of the interview can cause an awkward moment and end the conversation on a poor note.”
Clark also suggests finding out the interviewer’s name before your interview, by asking whoever scheduled the interview to provide their name and job title so that you can prepare. Then, begin the conversation by greeting them by name, which demonstrates confidence and helps you remember their name later.

8. Not knowing your “why”

If you’re like most current job candidates, you’ve likely auto-applied for a bunch of different jobs and positions—which is fine but you’ll want to make sure you do the right research before the interview. This might sound basic but it can happen.
“Know the position you’re applying for, what the core competencies are, how you match up with that, and other ways you can add value to the organization. if you don’t do this homework, the hiring manager will see right through in short order,” explains Thomas Hawkins, Hiring Manager at Electrician Apprentice HQ.

9. Overselling your desire to work for the company

Do you want to show desire to work for the company in question? Yes. Do you want to overdo it? No! According to Hawkins, if you’re gushing about the opportunity, you might come off as desperate, something you never want.
That said, professionally point out why you think you’d be a good fit and how you can make the organization better, along with a modicum of passion for the position in question. After that, leave it there. You always want the impression that you have other offers on the table, and you can even politely state that in the interview. 

10. Falling into the trap of bashing your former employer

Google common interview questions and one or more of them will always be why you left your last job, how you feel about your most previous boss or some other iteration of that question but you should never fall into that trap by bashing a former employer or supervisor.
“Even if you literally hated the company or person, keep that to yourself. While you never want to lie in an interview, answering that question along the lines of ‘my personal goals different from those of my organization’ is rarely a bad idea, and likely never untruthful.”
— Kaitlyn McInnis
This article originally appeared on Ladders

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