You might think it shows confidence if you lead the interview — you’re wrong. That will just make sure you aren’t invited back.
An interview is one of the hardest things to obtain as a job seeker — and unfortunately, it’s also one of the easiest ways you can lose the job opportunity.
Interview mishaps happen to everyone, but the key to avoiding them is to relax and be yourself, says Laura Rose, a life and business coach and owner of Rose Coaching.
“The interview is as much about getting to know the company and work environment as it is about them interviewing you. This strategy relaxes the entire interview,” she says. “You can essentially direct the interview to the areas you are most comfortable talking about. Listening to the interviewer answer the questions, you can clue in on his terminology, terms and what he feels is important. Then you can highlight those same terms and skill set in your comments back to him.”
Being well-prepared for the meeting can also help you impress a potential employer.
“It’s difficult to overstress how important it is to do some research on a company you’re interviewing with. Have a list of good questions to ask the person interviewing you. You want to seem like you are asking questions that require thought rather than questions seeking information that may be available on the website,” says Debra Yergen, author of “Creating Job Security Resource Guide.”
“Start with questions about the importance the organization places on industry hot buttons and what the hiring manager sees as differences between their company and their competitors. Another great question might be something like, ‘Are there any employee groups here that work together to plan team-building activities or extracurricular events that bring co-workers together either to boost morale or support the community?’ These kinds of questions send a potential employer a message that you’re looking for more than a job,” she says.
While asking the right kinds of question is vital, you must also be prepared to answer the tough questions, says Henry Motyka, business solutions manager at Norwood Consulting.
“Of particular importance are behavioral interview questions like, ‘Tell me about a situation when … ‘ It is best to define those situations beforehand and memorize them,” he says.
Doing your research, asking the right questions and answering tough questions are ways to avoid making an interview mistake. But, unfortunately, there are many ways to derail an interview.
Here are five gaffes to steer clear of in your interview:
1. Dressing inappropriately
“If you are not professionally attired, you won’t get the job, even if you are the most qualified,” says image consultant Sandy Dumont. “Always dress better than required for an interview. Never dress down, because it is insulting to the other person. It says, ‘I don’t have to impress you; I dress for my own comfort.’ When you dress to impress, they get it, and you will stand out from all the other candidates.”
2. Trying to lead the interview
“Many of my clients have children. [They have a] tendency to talk over their interviewers. That’s how they manage to be heard at home and that’s what they often do in their interviews,” says Rory Cohen, a career counselor. “When you don’t listen, you don’t get invited back for a second interview. Interviewers, in general, want and expect to be in the driver’s seat.”
3. Showing up too late or too early
“If you’re more than 15 minutes early to your interview, go to the restroom and freshen up, then casually walk in about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment,” says Marie Applegate Prasad, founder of WiSo Résumés.
4. Bringing your own food or drink
“Do not bring any food or drinks into the office of the interviewer. Many find eating or drinking a big distraction and some people are sensitive to smells,” Prasad says. “It’s best to just wait until after the interview is over.”
5. Forgetting important information
“On a sheet of paper write down the following information: company, address, phone number, hiring manager, person who scheduled the interview, position you are interviewing for and job duties,” Prasad says. “Study this and bring with you the day of your interview.”
Next: Top Companies Hiring This Week
Work It Out
Now that you have the job, How to React to Workplace Attac k
Since 2008, there has been a rise in workplace violence that many experts believe is closely associated with the increasing pressure people are feeling at workand overall uncertainty about jobs nationally. Stress or conflict at work, financial issues and even trouble at home can all contribute to workplace violence.
Employers are becoming more aware of the need to have policies and procedures in place that will guide employees who may come face-to-face with someone intent on doing harm. If you find yourself in a violent situation, whether physical or verbal, there are some things you should try to remember. It’s important to think about them now, while you are calm, so that you will be better prepared to act in a worst case scenario.
When violence breaks out in the workplace, you are faced with three options: run, hide or take action. If you do find yourself in a close encounter with someone intent on inflicting harm, you or those you work with will probably not be able to run or hide. “Take action” includes many scenarios, but if having to talk to a person bent on violence is the situation you’ve found yourself in, this advice may be helpful:
- Remain calm – The calmer you are, the better you will be able to think about how to properly handle the situation. You may also make others feel safer if you are calm and not panicked.
- Use an open stance – The way you present yourself is critical. It is your goal to help defuse the attacker’s anger and get them to remain calm. The attacker has to believe you are not going to attack them, and the way you stand can reinforce that. Use a slightly open stance with one foot behind the other and most of your weight on your back foot. Not only does this convey a neutral signal but it also gives you more freedom to react should you be attacked
- Do not raise your voice – Speak in a normal, even tone.
- Listen, listen and listen – Maybe the attacker just wants to be heard. Let them vent and do not interrupt or argue with him or her.
- Think before you speak – Certain comments could confuse the attacker or imply that your opinions are more important than theirs. Ask the attacker, “I can see that you are upset. How can I help?” Avoid using these phrases:
“I know how you feel.”
“You shouldn’t be angry. It is no big deal.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll be fine.”
- Don’t take anything personally – People who have reached the point where they are prepared to act out violently might be looking for someone to take their side and get emotionally involved in their issue.
- Be mindful of your facial expressions – You can nod to indicate that you understand what is being said, but you should be careful about openly agreeing or disagreeing. The idea, again, is to let the person talk.
- Keep your hands in view of the attacker – Your palms might be sweaty from nerves but it is better to show your palms to the attacker rather than crossing your arms or making a fist. This conveys a non-confrontational demeanor and also shows the attacker that you are not armed.
- Maintain eye contact – Maintain regular eye contact with the attacker but don’t stare at or try to stare him down. The idea is to use eye contact to “connect” and build a level of trust that might help the attacker continue talking and calm down.
- If a weapon is involved – Follow the attacker’s orders. Unless you are confident that your life is in immediate danger, you should not try to disarm an attacker.
In all violent situations, be sure to call 911 as soon as possible. Fully cooperate with arriving police and keep your hands visible to them as they have no way of knowing who the attacker is and who may be an innocent bystander.
The most important way you can contribute to the successful outcome of a violent confrontation in the workplace is to be informed and alert, remain calm and contact a manager or police as soon as you witness violent or potentially violent behavior in the workplace. Workplace violence can happen in any environment, within any industry, so it is important to understand how to handle a violent workplace situation. For more information on workplace violence, visit alliedbarton.com/wpv.