What not to do at interview
( Seven ways job-seekers sabotage themselves )
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By Liz Ryan, Kiplinger.com : There are several ways job-seekers can trip
themselves up during the job search process.
From saying the wrong thing during a phone screening to forgetting a key
piece of information about a potential employer during a face-to-face
interview, a single misstep can ruin any chance an applicant might have at
Here are seven major mistakes a job candidate might make that can prolong a
Talking Too Much
At the onset of a job search, it's natural for a applicant to want to give
110%. Be mindful, however, that being too eager can hurt you just as much as
not trying at all.
Pushy job-seekers sometimes have a tendency to over-speak during phone
interviews in an effort to play up their strengths.
When the phone rings and a recruiter is on the other end, try to contain
yourself. Don't start gushing about your professional experience right away.
Take a deep breath, listen carefully to what is being asked of you and only
answer those questions. Remember not to give one-word responses, but don' t
tell your life story, either. If a company is interested, you'll have plenty
of time to discuss all sorts of fascinating topics and share more of your
background in a face-to-face meeting.
Not Knowing Your Market Value
Job candidates who don't research current salary ranges in their respective
fields are setting themselves up for disaster. Not doing this can put you in
a position in which your asking price is either too low or too high.
Before you even begin to apply to jobs, you should have a strong knowledge
of how much people like you are getting paid at companies like the ones
Visit sites like Salary.com, Payscale.com and Glassdoor.com to find out how
much your skills are worth. That way, when a hiring manager asks, "What are
you looking to earn?", you'll be able to respond with a solid number. You
should also update your resume and include reminders throughout of the
dollars you have earned or saved for previous employers, and be sure to note
the big projects you?ve worked on.
Keeping Your Network in the Dark
Don't forget to share with people you know -- personally and professionally
-- that you're embarking on a new job search. Keeping them out of the loop
on your potential career move could cause you to miss out on promising job
At least one-third of your job-search strategy should be dedicated to
networking. An easy way to reconnect with old friends and former colleagues
is through social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Let them know
specifically the types of positions you're looking for, keep them posted on
the employers you're targeting, and allow them to introduce you to other
people who can help move your job-search along.
Showing Up Unprepared
In the age of the Internet, there's no excuse for going to an interview
without having some prior knowledge of an organization's history, its
competitors and its industry's current challenges.
Also, you'll want to have at least five to ten questions prepared that speak
to the employer's situation in the marketplace and the impact of the role
you're interviewing for on that equation.
Instead of asking, "What does your business do?", you can say something
like, "It seems that the traditional distribution model for your products is
changing incredibly fast. How are you dealing with that issue?" Not doing
these things puts you at an immediate disadvantage when compared to the
dozens of other applicants who've done their research, and it shows a lack
of serious interest in the company.
Losing Focus During an Interview
It's natural to feel a bit nervous before an interview. What's not OK is to
let those nerves get the best of you when meeting face-to-face with a hiring
Remember to stay focused on the conversation at hand, even though your mind
might be screaming "Was that a good answer?" A clear sign that you're losing
your cool is rambling. Dragging on about one topic is not the best way to
Employers hire people they have confidence in, not people who second-guess
themselves. As the interviewer asks you a question, ask yourself, "What does
he really want to learn through my answer?" That will help you compose a
response that is thoughtful and concise.
Not Being Accountable
Most applicants have at least one blemish on their resume. Employers expect
this. You've got to anticipate questions related to that flaw and be ready
If you've changed jobs frequently, switched industries more than once or
taken off an extended period of time between jobs, be prepared to answer,
"What's the story behind this move?" Not being able to clearly explain
something, such as why you've been unemployed for the past year, is going to
raise a red flag.
Prior to an interview, take time to talk through every step of your career
history with a friend who can help you construct fluid answers to any
question an interviewer might pose about your background. The key is not to
apologize for your career twists and turns, but rather integrate them into
your story. If you're coming back from a few years out of the workforce due
to raising kids, for instance, you can say "I've been home with my twins
since 2007, and I'm chomping at the bit to get back into online marketing
and build site traffic for a natural-food-products company."
Jumping the Gun on a Job Offer
Getting a job offer after a lengthy search can be exciting. However,
accepting an offer before you've had time to fully consider the terms --
from the reporting structure to health benefits to base pay -- isn't smart.
Be wary of employers who only give you a day or two to evaluate an offer,
and especially so if they're hesitant to put it in writing. Say to the
hiring manager, "This is fantastic. There are a lot of moving parts, so I'd
love to get the offer in writing and be able to review it carefully."
Remember, you can't negotiate the job terms if you aren't aware of what's
exactly on the table.
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