With recession taking a toll on the economy, more and more people are on the look out for new career opportunities. Unfortunately, landing your dream job may be easier said than done in these difficult circumstances.
A single faux pas may mar your chances of landing a dream job. An impressive resume alone is not enough to be ahead in the rat race. So, if you want to beat the rising tide of competent and skilled candidates in the interview process, here is a check list of bloopers you must avoid…
Dress for the occasion
Play it safe when it comes to dressing up for your interview. Just because your interview is scheduled on a weekend, doesn’t mean that you can pick up a pair of jeans and a casual tee from your wardrobe. Irrespective of the nature of your job, stick to formal wear and avoid colours that are too gaudy.
Krithika Joshi (name changed on request), a human resource professional with an IT company suggests, “Candidates should be extremely careful when it comes to choosing their attire for an interview. I was recently interviewing a candidate who wore exceptionally loose trousers with a tight fitting and revealing casual top – which is extremely unprofessional and forces the employer to believe that you have a very easy-going attitude which may just transcend into your job as well.”
Agreeing with Mansi, Neha, an HR professional with a multi-national company is Delhi adds, “It’s important to take care of your looks besides your outfit. Dress up neatly and smartly. Avoid casuals, sporty and a shabby look.”
Remember that your interview is not a Saturday night party with your pals, so arriving late will only lead to loosing brownie points. Make sure you reach at least 20 minutes in advance and inform the receptionist that you have arrived. Familiarise yourself with the environment, interact with other candidates and get set to be grilled!
Shikha Verma (name changed on request), 28, a marketing professional confesses, “I was to appear for an interview with a leading multi-national company in Noida a few months ago. I got inevitably late for the interview for personal reasons. I arrived 45 minutes late than the scheduled time. Although I apologised for the delay, giving the interviewer an explanation for the same, but he refused to interview me and I lost the job which I had been wanting for almost a year.”
Whether it is presenting a bogus relieving letter from your previous company or exaggerating your monthly income, remember that your prospective employer is much smarter than you think. So, if you believe that you can fabricate information, impress your prospective employer and get away with being fake, think again. If caught, you won’t just be embarrassed, but will also be disqualified right away.
Vikram Khandelwal (name changed on request), 30, who works with a multi-national company in Mumbai says, “I appeared for an interview six months back in which I had exaggerated my salary and my work responsibilities. However, when the HR confirmed the same with my previous company and asked me for a clarification, I was extremely embarrassed. I ultimately lost the opportunity.”
Don’t criticise your previous employer
No matter how frustrated you were with your previous job or employer, zip your lip when it comes to talking about the failings of your previous job or employer in your current interview. Bad mouthing your boss or your workplace will not score you any points; instead it will only give your prospective employer reasons to believe that you don’t easily get along with people and may have left your previous company on a bad note.
“Many candidates have the habit of cribbing about their previous employer or work culture when asked why he/she wants to change the job. Most employers would be hesitant hiring such a person because he/she would leave an impression of not being a team player,” says Krithika.
Don’t be overtly friendly
What if you walk in only to find out that your interviewer is an old friend or an acquaintance from your previous company? Stop believing that you have already landed the job or asking questions like – “Remember Sangita? Neha? Ajit?” It’s important not to cross the thin line between developing a rapport and being overtly friendly. So, watch what you say. There will be enough time to share jokes once you land the job.
“Not long ago, I met a candidate who worked in my previous organisation during an interview process. He was surprised to see me and ironically started asking me questions like why I had changed my company and whether I was in touch with my colleagues whom he also knew. I thought it was ridiculous and professionally unethical. I made up my mind not to hire him right away,” adds Krithika.
Do your homework
If you thought an interview is about you alone, think again. While the interviewer is very likely to question you on your accomplishments and aspirations, it’s equally important to have vital information about the company you want to work for. While going through the company’s website is the easiest and quickest means to do so, learning about the recent achievements/developments in the company will certainly give you an edge over other applicants.
Vinay, a corporate trainer with a leading manufacturing company explains, “It is always advisable to gather as much information about the company you are applying to. Research is vital for a successful interview conversation. It will not only score you more points, but will also add value to your knowledge regarding the industry.”
No matter how desperately you need that job, don’t show it. It’s important to come across as an enthusiastic and responsible employee and not as a needy job seeker. The biggest blooper in a job interview is to discuss the perks and salary even before you have been offered the job. Such an act is bound to leave a negative impression on your prospective employer.
“Desperation certainly mars your chances of getting the position you want. Assure your employers that you have the right mix of skills and qualities for the job by showcasing your work. It’s important not to let them believe that you are desperately in need of the job. He may also doubt your capabilities if you present yourself as needy and desperate,” adds Vinay.
Your body language speaks much more about you than you would like your interviewer to know. Glancing at your watch, slumping in the chair, avoiding eye contact, folding your arms across the chest or fiddling with an object on the desk are a complete no-no.
“Employers pay a lot of attention to your body language. Being nervous is absolutely normal in an interview, but one must take care not to make it too evident. It’s necessary to give out the right signals – look attentive, do not slouch in your chair, ensure that you aren’t constantly using your hands to the point of distraction,” says Savita Mishra, a body language expert.