The Biggest Blunders of Job Searching: Part 4 The Interview Process

Let’s review. Here we taught you how to craft a resume so amazing it will surely get your foot in the door at a great organization. Here we taught you how to nail your interview and avoid putting the aforementioned foot in your mouth. And here we taught you how to rock an interview presentation or seminar. You may be wondering what else there could be. In the last of this four-part series, we will talk about how to comport yourself with grace and dignity throughout the process. Some prospective employees forget about the process; the stuff in between the phone interview and the onsite interview. Sometimes the way candidates act when they are not being formally interviewed is the best window into how they will act when they are employed, and interviewers pay attention to that. Let us help you avoid some interview process pitfalls.

Don’t Be Annoying

Treat your interviewer or HR rep as your partner; you are in this together. If she tells you she will be back in touch with you in a week, don’t follow up with her in two days. If she says she doesn’t have feedback for you, don’t badger her to get some—sometimes we just can’t share information with you. Be respectful of the process. Companies do things for a reason, and even if the interview process may seem silly to you, just put on your happy face and do what they are asking.

Don’t Take Advantage of Covered Expenses

If you are traveling to a company for an onsite interview, you will likely be able to purchase meals and provide the receipts for reimbursement. This is your first chance to let the company know how you would spend its money, so think about that before you spend. The best advice is to treat the company’s money as your own. Don’t buy overpriced meals; a four-course meal at a steakhouse is not an appropriate choice when it’s on the company’s dime. Also, if the company offers to purchase your alcohol, stick to one drink max. If they don’t say anything about alcohol, choose non-alcoholic options.

Don’t Communicate Poorly

No matter what job you are applying for, communication is going to be an integral part of your job. Prove to your interviewers right off the bat that you are a great communicator. Return messages in a timely manner and if you are using email, use full sentences and proper grammar. Make sure your responses are complete, and answer all of the questions your interviewer asked. Also, invest the two minutes and $0 it takes to get a free, professional email address (like firsname.lastname@email.com). Using the silly (or downright inappropriate) email address you have had since 1995 is not a good choice.

Don’t Assume You Know

You are probably well prepared. You have done your research on the company, the position, and the interviewers, but there are still some things you can’t find out from the internet. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand the process and the position requirements fully. It’s ok to ask what you need to bring to your interview, what you should prepare for, who you will be meeting, or what would be appropriate to wear to your interview. Your interviewers should be more than happy to answer those questions. If you just ask, you may get a few helpful hints that can work in your favor.

Don’t Forget Your Manners

While you don’t need to be overly polite and phony, do mind your manners. Speak respectfully and send a thank you note or email after your onsite interview for extra brownie points. Please and thank you go a long way.

Don’t Disrespect your Interviewers Time

Don’t expect your interviewers to do an interview before or after working hours. Don’t call them on their cell phones early in the morning and don’t be inflexible with the times you are available. Turn your phone off during an onsite interview, and keep in mind that if you put your interviewer on hold during a phone interview, they may not be there when you come back.

This wraps up our four-part series on job searching. Just by reading these blog posts, you are more prepared to rock an interview than most of your peers. It would be a good idea to review the blog posts in this series before a big interview, just to make sure you are in tip-top shape. Best of luck to you, though you probably won’t need it!

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Becca McKnight

Senior Recruitment Specialist at Promega Corporation
Becca is a Recruitment Specialist at Promega where she gets to interview fascinating people and do yoga during the lunch hour. She earned her BS in psychology with a minor in dance at the University of Iowa. In her free time you can find her dancing, practicing yoga or cooking.

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