The Most Common & Careless Interview Mistakes Young Job Seekers Make

stressingThe interview process can be intimidating to a recent grad new to the job market. Competition is fierce, and you have minimal to no interviewing experience under your belt. So how can you stay in the game, and communicate to an interviewer that you will be an asset to the organization? You can start by avoiding these careless but common interview slip-ups:

Arriving late.  
Young job seekers often forget how important punctuality is. Your timeliness indicates how reliable, mature, and professional you are, and what type of an employee you will be. Alfred Poor, published author and specialized career coach for young employees, recommends that you arrive 15 to 30 minutes early for your interview and "take the extra time to compose yourself and to review your resume and other materials that you've brought along." You do not want to be remembered as the candidate that was 20 minutes late and kept everyone waiting. Address any items that may cause you to be tardy night before. This means mapping out your interview location, picking out your interviewing outfit, and prepping any materials you were asked to bring with you.

Dressing inappropriately.
Appropriate attire is essential. "Hiring managers are influenced by their first impressions to some degree, and although it may not always be necessary, it is a good idea to dress your best," says Lynda Zugec, managing director of The Workforce Consultants, a network of specialized HR professionals. Even if you are unsure what the company's dress code policy is, it is best to be overdressed than risk being too casual. If you show up dressed inappropriately, a hiring manager may think you are not taking the opportunity seriously. Dave Mason, banking practice director for banking, financial services, and IT search firm, The Judson Group, says that it is important for a candidate to dress the part. Mason states that one of the quickest ways a recent graduate can sabotage their chances is inappropriate attire. "The old adage 'dress for the job you want' applies during the interview process as well," Mason adds. The best way to ensure that you won't make this mistake is to have a set interviewing outfit (or two). Make sure it is comfortable and fits well. You do not want to be distracted by an outfit that is too tight or too warm during the interview - it reduces your ability to engage with the hiring manager and may make you seem disinterested.

Acting unprofessionally.
There is nothing worse than a candidate who disrespects the interviewing process. "Hiring managers look for people who will represent the company well. When a candidate demonstrates unprofessional behavior, the hiring manager loses confidence in that person's ability to properly represent the company with clients and customers," says Mason. Keep strong eye contact with your interviewer, avoid any nervous habits like biting your nails or twirling your hair, and above all else, leave your smartphone in the car.

Neglecting to prepare.
New graduates often make the mistake of not thoroughly researching the company prior to the interview. On interview day, you should come across well-versed in who the company is and what they stand for. If you do not feel comfortable discussing the organization you are interviewing with, then how can you possibly portray what kind of asset you will be to the company? "Ideally, you should be able to talk intelligently about the company and the challenges it faces, both on its own and as a part of a larger market," advises Poor. Adam Kirsch, COO of Ithaca, NY based college housing leasing site adds, "If you can come to the interview and immediately demonstrate that you have some understanding of what we do and the challenges we face, it goes a long way. If you're clueless about our firm and our projects, how do I know you'll be interested and engaged if we bring you on board?" Do yourself a favor and do your homework before the big day. There is no bigger turn-off than a candidate who is unprepared and, as a result, disengaged from the interview.

Happy Hunting.
The team at


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