Interviews are hard. And depending on your skills and experience, you might love them or you might hate them. But no matter what your feelings about interviews are, as long as you’re searching for a job, you won’t be able to escape them.
“Once they did that, I decided right then and there that they would not be moving forward in the hiring process. Of course, they had no idea that what they had just done was a red flag. And unless they ask me, they never will.”
– Jen, Recruiter
The above quote was taken from a recruiter who had just interviewed a potential prospect. During the interview, the applicant made a huge error that pretty much sealed their fate and eliminated them from the hiring process.
As a job site and marketplace that focuses on interview tips and getting you hired, we want to help you avoid situations like this. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that covers everything you shouldn’t do during an interview.
1. Poor Presentation
One very common interview tip that you most likely have heard before is “dress to impress.” And while that is easy to remember in face-to-face interviews, the virtual front brings on a new element.
When you’re being interviewed through video chat, you have to remember that you not only have to look presentable but your background does too. That means no messy clothes in a pile, your TV isn’t on, and you’re somewhere that will be free of both audio and visual distractions and interruptions.
Use the background to your advantage. Throw your degree on the wall behind you, hang up some art, or do something else that will make you stand out during the interview. Who knows, maybe the recruiter likes the same baseball team as you.
2. Forgetting to Do Your Research
Doing the necessary research on a company is one of the most overlooked interview tips in the book. There is nothing a recruiter hates more than an applicant who has no idea about the company and/or position they are applying for.
It shows that you really aren’t interested or passionate about the position and company. So how can the recruiter expect you to be motivated once you start? Especially if you don’t even know much about the role you’re applying for? More often than not, this is a dealbreaker.
3. Reading From Your Screen
This next interview tip is one that is exclusive to the virtual environment but one that should definitely be kept in mind. And that’s to avoid reading prewritten answers and statements from your screen.
It’s one thing to have your resume up in the corner or to try and memorize a couple of things you want to say, but when you’re reading something from your laptop or monitor, interviewers can usually tell. Not only do you sound robotic, but they can see your eyes moving across the screen.
In the end, you just need to be authentic and professional. No shame in having something prepared but try to avoid doing it like this.
4. Speaking Negatively About Current-Employer
Although you may have plans to leave a company, it’s important to avoid putting them down during and at any point after your employment with them. Especially during an interview.
When you talk poorly about your employer, the recruiter might think that you would do the same to them one day. Even if you’re not going to be employed by them for much longer, they still represent a part of your professional identity. So in bringing shame to their name, you also shed some on your own.
5. Copy & Paste Responses
Copy and paste responses are a lot like the reading from your screen in that it comes off as inauthentic. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is to make sure your answers are tailored to the company you’re applying for.
When talking about your strengths, mention why they might help you do the position well. When talking about your aspirations, discuss a career path that could be fulfilled at the company and how you might obtain it there. Try your best to tie as much as you can back to the company,
But the time when you need to avoid a copy and paste response the most is when they ask you why you want to work for that company. If you’re not able to respond with specifics and instead give them every other spiel that you gave to your other interviewers, don’t expect to get very far in the hiring process.
Just like your momma told you – don’t lie. This is one interview tip, and one life tip, that everyone should always abide by. We can’t deny that the fake it till you make it routine can work every now and then, but if you get caught lying, whether it’s on your resume or during an interview, it’s going to cost you serious points.
This includes lying about everything from skills to personal anecdotes. Companies usually have tests that can validate whether you can do what it is you say you can or not. And running away with a story is always dangerous, especially if you end up working with the person you said it to.
Whether you’re interviewing in person or through video, make sure to avoid any and all forms of fidgeting. This includes fidgeting with something in your hands, with your hair, or rocking back and forth demonstrating that you are restless and unfocused.
You could be telling an incredibly relevant and interesting story that gets ruined by a non-verbal distraction. So posture up, look directly into the screen or camera and find a position you’re comfortable with.
8. The Money & Vacation Questions
The money and vacation questions are a recruiter’s worst nightmare. One of the easiest interview tips on this entire list, and also one of the most important, is to not ask about money or vacation while you’re interviewing.
The reason why is because employers look for people who want a job because of the company, the job, and the position, not just for a paycheck. And when you ask questions about vacation, you risk coming off as lazy.
Yes, time off and wages are very important when making a decision about a job. And you do have a right to know what those numbers are. But if you get far enough in the process, odds are they will fill you in. So be patient, and remember all the other reasons that make a job important. In the end, that’s what really matters.
Making Your Own Guide
For many of you job seekers out there, there may be things on this list you need to concentrate on more than others. You may even find things outside of this list of interview tips that help you during the hiring process. So we encourage you to make your own guide and develop your own interview offensive. With knowledge and confidence, you’ll go a long way.
For more interview tips and information on finding your dream job, check out the WayUp blog.