A job interview is your opportunity to make a good, lasting impression, while standing out from the other qualified candidates. While there may not be a sure-fire way to guarantee you nail that next job interview, there are some things you definitely want to avoid at all costs. If you have an upcoming job interview, you do not want to:
Unless an absolute emergency came up at the last minute, being late for your job interview is one of the easiest ways to ruin your chances before you even begin. Most interviewers and employers won’t want to hear any excuses for tardiness, and their first impression of you will likely be a bad one if you’re late. To avoid being late for your interview, plan ahead. Double-check that you know where you’re going, that you’ve got the address correct, and that you know how to get there. It can be helpful to look up the address on Google Maps and then look at the street view, so that you’ll already know what you’re looking for. Pretend that your interview is an hour earlier than it really is (at the very least), just to be prepared for anything unplanned, like unusual amounts of traffic, getting lost, etc. Arriving an hour early is better than arriving even just one minute late, and you can use that time for any last-minute interview preparations. However, you’ll want to do this somewhere else nearby if you’re extra early—whether in your car or the coffee shop next door. If the interviewer knows that you’re waiting in the lobby about an hour before the scheduled time, it can appear pushy and overly eager.
Be dressed unprofessionally
Dressing professionally is important for any job interview, even if it’s an unpaid internship. You don’t want to show up looking sloppy or in clothing that’s way too casual, even if you’re interviewing for a company that is known for its laid-back atmosphere and relaxed dress code. Remember that your interview is your time to make a good first impression, and failing to dress professionally could convey the message that you don’t take the job that seriously.
Avoid asking questions at the end
Towards the end of the interview, you’ll probably be asked if you have any questions. Saying that you don’t have any questions is probably one of the worst responses, so it’s important to be prepared beforehand by having a lot of questions. Keep a small notepad with you to take notes during your interview, and you can also have your questions written down. Ask questions about the company or the specific position you’d be filling, who your boss would be, etc. Your interviewer may have gone over most of the stuff you were going to ask, so be prepared by having a lot of potential questions ready. This isn’t the time, though, to ask about salary or vacation days.
Not know anything about the company
Asking a lot of questions is great, but if you ask things about the company that you should already know going in, it can make you look bad. Be sure to research the company thoroughly before your interview and learn all you can. If applicable to the conversation, share anything exciting you learned about the company with the interviewer—your knowledge and enthusiasm about the company can help you score some brownie points. On the other hand, if you ask when the company opened their doors and this is very basic information that is available on their website, it just tells the interviewer that you didn’t do any research at all.