As a Career Coach, Executive Coach, and eMBA Coach, I’ve heard so many interview horror stories! All of these interview nightmares are preventable. If you are prepared, come to the interview with a positive attitude, and follow through afterward. Interviewing is hard work, and can be exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be the stuff of panic and nightmares. Executive or entry-level, even an interview that results in a hiring influencer declining to take your application further offers the chance to learn and have a better interview next time.
But, if you’re a fan of horror, panic, and spectacular failure, here’s a few ways to throw away your opportunities:
Fail to Prepare. This is a tried-and-true failure method, but it has such a wealth of components that it’s worthy of going first.
- Why do research? As long as you read the job description weeks ago and your skills and experience are similar to what they’re seeking, you’ll be fine. And you don’t really need to know anything about the company other than they’re hiring. No one expects you to know why you’re a good fit for the position or understand what the company does, right? And no one reads their own resume. A reasonable guess about your past job history is all the interviewer is expecting, really.
- Be comfortable. Why wear a suit or even shave? Your future employers should see you as you wish you could dress every day of the week. It’s not like hiring influencers are expecting to see your very best. Don’t feel like shaving or brushing your teeth? I’m sure they won’t notice.
- Practice is for losers. Reading up on behavioural interview questions, having an elevator pitch and introduction ready, and polishing your answers is for children about to take a test. An interview isn’t a test of your performance capabilities at all. Practicing all that would make you sound fake, anyway. Not polished and professional.
Bad Attitude. This is the failure method that can sneak up on you, but it’s one of the hiring influencers’ favourites. This is where their cocktail party stories come from!
- While recruiters and HR managers may feel that you had enough skills and experience to be a potential great fit for the job, you can grow your anxiety to the point where you won’t be able to give a confident handshake, much less a STAR story.
- It’s important to walk in to an interview ready to tell hiring influencers what you’d change about their organization, and how it falls far short of competitors. If that isn’t effective enough, dwell endlessly on how much you hated your last employer and how incompetent your boss was. Before you leave the interview, make sure you mention your feud with your former coworkers, too.
- Introductions, handshakes, smiling, and using good business etiquette is worse than fake, it’s too much work. Chew gum and blow bubbles while you interview. Don’t forget to constantly check your email and post on Facebook. You don’t want to be out of touch with anyone for even a moment.
Neglect. This is a quieter, less obvious method to fail an interview, for the most part it simply makes you look less attractive in comparison to other candidates. But, with some effort, neglect can put you in last place for every single position.
- Don’t ask questions. Since the interviewer is the only one who is supposed to ask questions, don’t bother to research or compile a few questions of your own. Hiring influencers are known to be telepathic, and can just sense how interested you are. It’s in your aura, really, so asking about the job, the company, or culture, it’s just a waste of time when you’re radiating an interested and engaged aura.
- Thank you notes are for gifts. Thank you notes for interviews are ignored and unappreciated anyway, so why bother? Even emailed notes are just more trouble than they’re worth. They couldn’t possibly reinforce your interest and your great fit for the position. Being memorable and leaving a positive impression isn’t really what interviews are about.
- Giving up. If you’re declined for one position, be sure to write off the entire global organization and all the many divisions. Obviously, this isn’t somewhere you wanted to work and they’ll be too close-minded to see that your skills and experience match a different position. Since you didn’t do your company research anyway, it might be moot, you might not know they have other divisions. Giving up could also qualify as bad attitude, but since it requires refusal to make an effort after the interview ends, it fits best right here.
However, if you want to banish the horror and nightmares of bad interviews, doing the exact opposite of each of these mistakes should set you on the path to success!