You found the perfect job on the boards, and turned in a resume and cover letter awesome enough to land you an interview. But before you meet with the hiring manager, be sure to avoid these too-common interview fails that hiring managers hate.
1. Not Doing Your Homework
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Failing to prepare properly for the interview sends red flags to the hiring manager. “If there is one thing that turns off hiring managers,” says Jose Laurel, director of recruitment services at G&A Partners, “it’s meeting with or speaking to a candidate who hasn’t done their homework.”
Make sure you’re prepared by fully researching the company and taking the time to gain a solid grasp on the requirements of the position you’re applying for.
2. Not Having Questions at the Ready
“Questions are a way to demonstrate enthusiasm, interest and knowledge,” says Mitchell Langbert, author and associate professor of business and economics at Brooklyn College. Langbert says when a person doesn’t ask questions in an interview, it shows they’re either unqualified for the position, or they just don’t care.
Langbert says employers want to hire people who are “enthusiastic, committed and knowledgeable about the hiring firm.” Be sure to prepare questions ahead of time that show your knowledge of the field and the company you want to work for.
3. Appearing Desperate
During the interview, there is a clear line between enthusiastic and desperate. “Hiring managers want to see that candidates are motivated and interested in the position,” Laurel says, but cautions that seeming too desperate can make it appear as if you have limited job options.
Even if you really want the job, either because it’s a company you’d love to work for, or you’re unemployed and your reserve funds are dwindling, be careful to come off as too desperate. The best way to avoid appearing desperate is to remember your value and what you can bring to the company. After all, they’re interviewing you for a reason. Rather than the “I’ll take anything” approach to interviewing, try to remain calm and collected, reminding yourself it’s a two-way street (without becoming over-confident, of course).
4. Overly Persistent Follow-ups
One major way to appear desperate is by pestering the hiring manager for information after the interview. “Hiring managers are busy and constant calling and emailing takes up their valuable time,” says Laurel. “The candidate can appear as not being able to follow instructions, or unable to take a hint regarding where they are in the process.”
Langbert advises candidates to be enthusiastic during the interview, to send a thank you note and to follow up if it’s been longer than three weeks since hearing from the company. Other than that, it’s best to wait it out without constantly checking in with the hiring manager. Langbert reminds, “The solution is to be patient rather than pestering.”