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5 Common Interview Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Job Search

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5 Common Interview Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Job Search

You see a job posting and automatically you know it would be the perfect job for you. Your qualifications match, it would present you with career growth opportunities, and you know you’d bring great value to the company. In short, it’s your dream job.

You get the call for your interview, whether it’s in person or through online video, and you feel ready. Before you head out the door or fire up your webcam, however, know there are plenty of little pitfalls which can come between you and your dream job. With 7.9 percent unemployment, even a tiny mistake can be the opening another qualified candidate needs to leapfrog over you and get the job.

So what are the common mistakes you need to avoid to ace your interview? Here are five questions your interviewer should never ask themselves at any point during your meeting:

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What Are You Wearing?

It might be spring, but that doesn’t mean you should show up for your interview with a pastel-hued wardrobe. When the calendar flips to summer, the heat will be no excuse for donning a pair of shorts on such a formal occasion. You know the saying, “the clothes make the man”? Well in the interview, wearing the wrong thing can mean immediate disqualification before you even open your mouth.

Studies have revealed that first impressions are formed a mere 7 to 17 seconds after meeting. In 7 seconds, all your interviewer will have to go by will be your interview attire. This is why it’s imperative to dress conservatively and professionally—this is no time for a fashion show! Even if the office environment is more a T-shirt than suit jacket kind of place, the interview is no time to be taking fashion risks.

Why Are You Late?

Just like wearing a pair of flip-flops and board shorts, showing up late for your interview can be grounds for immediate dismissal. Your interviewer is taking time out of his or her busy schedule to squeeze you in. Be cognizant of this fact, and leave your house or office with plenty of time to spare.

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You might not think you need the extra time, but there are plenty of obstacles life can throw at you. You could get lost going to an unfamiliar neighborhood, or get stuck in a traffic pile up. Remember, it’s better to be early than late when it comes to your interview.

If you’re far away and think it might be hard to get to your interview on time, perhaps you should suggest a video interview. This way you can fire up your webcam from the comfort of your own home. Just remember, there’s no excuse on earth for being late to your video interview. Make sure to check out your equipment in advance so you don’t run into any technical difficulties.

You Really Don’t Know Anything About the Company?

One of the most common interview mistakes, and one of the most easily remedied, is showing up for the meeting without knowing anything about the company. “So what does this company do?” is never an acceptable question to ask your interviewer.

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Before showing up for your meeting, take some time to research the company. Start with their corporate website and social media properties, then expand your reach to any news about the organization. Maybe you can even connect on social media with current or former employees to find out more about the company culture. Whatever you do, don’t go into the interview without doing your homework.

Is That Your Phone Ringing?

There is nothing so important it cannot wait until you get out of an interview, so be sure to turn off all sounds on your phone before going in for your meeting. This means turning your phone off vibrate too. While a loud ring is distracting, the constant sound of your phone vibrating in your bag can be just as bad. You know you’re a popular person—there’s no need for your interviewer to know it as well.

What Did You Just Say About Your Former Employer?!

Perhaps your last job was terrible. Your boss resembled Michael Scott from NBC’s comedy The Office, and not in a good way. Your coworkers were meaner than Johnny Lawrence from the Karate Kid, and the office cafeteria food was just terrible.

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We’ve all been there, and we can all relate, but these stories of workplace woe belong at Happy Hour with your friends, not in an interview for a new position. You might think  that badmouthing your last office is a good tactic to explain why you were fired or why you want to make the switch to a new position. It is, however, a terrible idea.

Interviewers will think if you’re willing to badmouth a former employer, you’ll be willing to throw a new company under the bus as well. Go for discretion instead of full confession, and try to spin your former experiences in a positive way and make it about what you learned, not how much you hated your former job.

Interviews can be stressful, which can lead to little mistakes that add up to big trouble for your prospects. Focus on avoiding some of the most common errors, and you’ll be well on your way to nabbing the job of your dreams!

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What are some common interview mistakes to avoid? Share in the comments!

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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