Ten Reasons You Blew the Job Interview (and What to Do Next Time)
To quote a line from Adam Sandler’s classic flick Billy Madison, “you blew it!” You interviewed for your dream job, and you didn’t even get a call-back.
That sucks. But, the best part about failure is that it gives you a chance to learn something new. Here, in no particular order, are ten reasons you blew the interview, and what you can do better next time.
1. You Showed up Late
It really doesn’t matter why. Crazy traffic, spilled coffee, kid issues, and getting lost all sound like excuses to your interviewer. They’re expecting you to plan ahead and come prepared. If you show up late for your interview, you’re setting a pretty bad precedent.
Next time: Leave your house early. Extra early. Drive the route at least once ahead of time. Secure a babysitter. Secure a backup babysitter. Bring a Tide stick. There’s really just no excuse for showing up late to an interview. So plan for the worst and leave yourself plenty of time.
2. You Were Short With the Receptionist
The receptionist is the gatekeeper to any business. Not only will you interact with this person on a daily basis should you get the job, but he or she might report directly to your interviewer; and will no doubt share an opinion on your attitude.
Next time: Smile and be gracious. Realize that you’re a guest in his or her “house” and act that way. Don’t interrupt, act bored, or ask where your interviewer is. Instead, just smile, take your seat, and be quiet. (This holds true for phone correspondence, too. Be nice!)
3. You Smoked Cigarettes on the Way
Sorry smokers, but you should probably try to refrain from puffing on the way to your interview. Not only is smelling like smoke immediately off-putting (even to other smokers!) it also indicates that you’ll be more prone than other potentials to take the not-so-occasional smoke break.
Next time: Save it for the drive home.
4. You Didn’t Research the Company
Your interviewer is taking time out of her day to speak with you. She likely spent more time looking over your resume, reading your cover letter and checking out your social profiles. If you show up without a basic understanding of the business’ daily operations, it’ll be clear to everyone you’re just in it for a paycheck.
Next time: Take the time to brush up on the company history and their day-to-day operations. Who are some of their clients? How long have they been in operation? Have they received any local press? Expressing an interest in, and knowledge of, the company ahead of time shows you’re invested in becoming an active member of the team, and not just a recipient of the cash.
5. You Forgot Your Resume
You probably assume that if they’re calling you in for an interview, they already have your resume. Or, perhaps you assumed that because it’s a job in IT, a paper resume would be totally passé. But, like so many things in life: it’s better not to assume.
Next time: Show up with a few extra copies of your resume and cover letter. And spring for some decent paper. If nothing else, you can use it to jot down some notes.
6. You Didn’t Ask Any Questions
Really? There’s nothing you want to know about the company? Your role there? The culture? To whom you’ll be reporting? How your progress will be measured? If you don’t care enough to come prepared with questions, you’ll come off as dull at best, and uninterested at worst.
Next time: Bring along a list of questions about the company, then jot down a few more pertaining more specifically to your role as the interview unfolds. By taking an interest in both the company background and where you’ll fit in, you’re showing that you’ll take the initiative to learn what’s necessary and that you’re interested in being a team-player.
7. You Didn’t Know Your Interviewer’s Name
There may be rare cases in which you won’t be informed of your interviewer’s name ahead of time – but in most cases you can still find this information out for yourself via a quick LinkedIn search. Not knowing your interviewer’s name can come off as careless and rude, so write it down and memorize it.
Next time: When in doubt: ask ahead of time.
8. You Asked About Compensation and Vacation
This type of discussion is best saved for after an offer has been made – or, at the very least, at the second interview. Asking about this stuff ahead of time is poor interview etiquette, and once again, shows you’re more interested in a paycheck than in being a contributing member of the team.
Next time: Be patient. Save those questions for when you’ve got more negotiating power – after they’ve extended you an invitation to join the team. Of course, if you’re working with a recruiter; this awkward business will likely be squared away ahead of time.
9. You Didn’t Dress the Part
It doesn’t matter if it’s a casual office or even a work-from-home gig. Showing up to an interview in overly casual attire shows a lack of respect.
Next time: Show up looking your best. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a full suit, but keep it classy. It’s always better to be overdressed.
10. You Didn’t Practice
Don’t just wing it! An interview is not the place to practice your improv. You need to be prepared to discuss your qualifications, and you should also be ready to answer those curveballs interviewers like to throw at candidates like, “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “name your spirit animal.” You just never know.
Next time: Practice talking about yourself. Ask a friend to give you a mock interview, practice in front of the mirror or watch yourself on video. (We know, we know. But just do it!)
If you’ve been paying attention, you can see that most of these come down to preparation. Take the time to prepare fully for the interview, whether that means driving the route or picking up your dry-cleaning. Being prepared is the best way to make a great first impression.
Get the help of the pros for your next job interview
As one of the area’s foremost IT staffing firms, part of our role is to prepare candidates like you to ace any interview. If you’d like assistance securing your next IT job, contact the tech staffing professionals at Digital Prospectors today. We’ll help you find (and get!) a job you love!