These are various interview “turn-off” factors found on the internet. We at Integrated Staffing have experienced each of them at one time or another…
Turnoff No. 1: Arriving too early for an interview
Interviews are scheduled at specific times for a reason. Hiring managers have other meetings and responsibilities to deal with throughout the day, so they can’t interrupt their schedule just to meet with you. An early (or late) arrival disrupts everyone’s schedule. Additionally, arriving earlier than 10 to 15 minutes for the interview could make you seem desperate (see #2) or simply overeager. Arriving late communicates the message, “I couldn’t get it together for this meeting” and doesn’t win you any points. Plan your schedule around the big interview so you don’t arrive too early or too late. Being punctual is a way to show respect and will earn some extra points.
If you get to the interview location too early, go to a nearby coffee shop, take a walk around the block or sit in your car to pass the time. Then check in five or ten minutes prior to your appointment.
Turnoff No. 2: Letting your desperation show
Although you may have been looking for a job for several months, don’t let your frustration become the interviewer’s problem. A negative attitude that causes you to vent about the hardships of being unemployed can leave you reeking of bitterness and repel employers. Obviously, you want the job and probably need the job–that’s why you’re interviewing for the position. Just don’t let any signs of desperation leak into your voice during the interview, or act desperately after the interview.
When you’re preparing for the interview, think like an employer. Do you want to hire the person with amazing qualification, a great personality and the potential to grow with the company? Or do you want to hire the person whose primary concern is getting a paycheck, who sounds angry and who might quit the moment a better job comes along? Enthusiasm impresses an employer; desperation does not.
Turnoff No. 3: Being too aggressive with your follow-up
Employers want to see enthusiasm from job seekers, but they don’t want to be inconvenienced by said enthusiasm. Two e-mails, a handwritten note, a few phone calls and a quick visit to the office just to see how things are going will not impress a hiring manager. Follow up with the hiring manager with a simple thank-you note, and maybe and email as well, and then wait for the response. Too many follow-up calls, letters, or emails will be an annoyance to the employer and leave them wondering why you aren’t a “wanted’ candidate by anybody else. Prove you have common sense, which includes knowing when to stop, otherwise you may also appear too desperate.
Turnoff No. 4: Talking trash about anyone
Too many people fall into the trap of complaining, whining, or downright trashing their former boss or company. You probably have plenty to say about your incompetent former boss and inept co-workers, but you know better than to say it. You’ve been told that employers hear you talk negatively about a past boss and think, “One day you’ll be talking that way about me.” You might forget that the same thoughts run through their mind when you talk about other organizations, too. If you’re interviewing with the No. 2 company in a specific industry, you shouldn’t take cheap shots at the No. 1 company every chance you get. Employers know you’re job hunting and that you’ve probably been just as unkind about them in other interviews.
Stay positive. Explain why you want to work for the company. Point out how your experience has prepared you for this move. Say, “I know your competitor is doing this, and they’ve had some success, but you have the ability to do this and that to beat them.” The focus remains on this company and also on your ideas.
Turnoff No. 5: Lacking direction
Whether or not they are micromanagers, employers like to have some trust in their employees. If your résumé, cover letter or interview suggests that you have no goals, you are not an attractive candidate. If you don’t even know where you want your career to go, how can you know this job is for you? A cover letter looking for a job instead of this job implies that you’re floating from gig to gig until you get bored. Being flexible, open-minded, and eager to learn is one thing, but claiming that you really don’t have any specific goals or idea of where your career is headed is quite another. If you can’t articulate what you expect to bring to the company or position, how this position is a good match for your career path, or how you intend to excel in your industry, the prospective employer can simply write you off as lacking any direction. Most hiring managers are looking for focused and driven self-starters. Make sure you’re demonstrating these traits so that you increase your chances of getting hired.
Figure out what that path is so you can show an employer you know where you’re going. Employers like ambition because these workers tend to care about their jobs and ultimately improve the business in some capacity.
Turn Off No. 6: Hiding your weakness
Being asked what your biggest weakness is can be a very intimidating question. Circumventing the intention of the question and answering with a strength seems like a sneaky way to look good, right? Wrong! Employers don’t like it when you describe your weakness as a strength. Being able to recognize your weaknesses shows that you are a mature worker who recognizes that you’re not infallible. Having trouble thinking of your biggest weakness? Even if you were the company rock star at your former job, don’t let that be the focus of your interview. If you’re getting ready to start a new job and career with this company, you need to show the hiring manager what value you can bring to them in the future. While your accomplishments and successes are a valuable addition to the resume, your interview needs to focus on what you plan to do in the future and how you plan on helping this company be successful. Unless the interviewer asks for a rundown specifically, don’t make this interview about your success story. Shift the focus to key skills and talents you have that will help your new team and company instead.
Turn Off No. 7: Dressing down
How you present yourself in the work environment is crucial. Throw the jeans back in your dresser and pull out the blazer. How much effort you put into looking the part shows how much effort you’re willing to put into doing the part. See our previous blog on how to Dress for Success.
Turn Off No. 8: Anxious behavior.
Looking at your watch, tapping your feet, looking away from the interviewer, and acting impatient are a few signs of nervousness and anxiety. Make sure you’re mentally prepared for this interview so that you don’t come across as scared, timid, or passive. Practice how you would respond to potential questions in advance. Confidence is always an attractive quality and you need to prove to the hiring manager that you truly are the best fit for this position. A great way to gain confidence is to study.