This article is exclusively written by Loren Brown for Career Money Life.
There are a variety of reasons why candidates fall short in interviews and never land that coveted position. These can range from tangible skills and performance all the way to how applicants present themselves. HR managers and interviewers are constantly amazed at the basic skills that people fail to display before, during, and after an interview. Just like we discussed in a previous article here on Career Money Life about the pressure HR leaders are under, in this article we will explore what you may be doing wrong in your interviews with the same HR leaders due to pressure, and how to correct those mistakes.
Let’s start with the basics and how you conduct yourself in an interview. If your attitude is sloppy or too haughty and arrogant, or if you have a disrespectful aura about you, then you are definitely hurting your prospects of being a successful candidate. The same goes for having a limp handshake or not making eye contact. Think of yourself as a product that you want to sell to a prospective buyer; that product has to impress everyone you meet along the way to the interview, not just the HR or hiring manager.
How you present yourself physically is also crucial. Coming to an interview looking generally unpolished signals that you don’t really care about the job and communicates a lack of respect for the interviewers. Psychologically, people will form an impression of you within the first few seconds of seeing you. And although interviews are not a fashion show, do make sure you look put together. CNBC explains that dressing smartly signals that you care about the interview and want to put your best foot forward. When in doubt always dress to impress and comb your hair, regardless of how everyone else in the company dresses.
Timing is also a key factor and is another complaint voiced by hiring managers. Employers are justifiably irked, in fact so is everyone else, when you arrive late or too early, for that matter. A senior managing director told Fortune Magazine that it’s surprising how many people miss the basics and show up late to an interview. Being late to an interview disrupts the schedules of the interviewers, who generally have a tight schedule with so many people to interview per day. On the other hand, being way too early can also cause unnecessary stress and disruption. Neither is good for you. It’s always a good idea to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the interview, check in, and let them know you’re waiting.
Lastly, let’s say you’ve practiced at home and nailed all the intangibles, but your interview still went south. It’s important to also be aware of the language and terms you use throughout an interview, as employers generally listen carefully to every word. Business News Daily points out that if you use clichés and biz-speak, interviewers will not view the usage of this garbled, imprecise wording as memorable and it will impact your chances of being hired. Career coach and mentor Alice Van Harten writes on Menlo Coaching that if you can explain specialised work in an unambiguous way, you demonstrate that you are a strong communicator. Use precise language, answer questions to the point, and stick to the topic. Show the employer you’ve also done your research and know enough about the company, the role you’re applying for, and how you’d fit into their culture.