So you’ve made it past the application review and you have an interview with a company. Nice! It’s definitely a big step in the job search and you should be proud of yourself for getting to this point. Now, before you interview, there are definitely some important things to know. Here is a list of the most common interview mistakes I see on a daily basis and how to avoid them.
- Dress up!
If you’ve found your way to this post or to the LaunchSource website, chances are you’re looking for a job in tech sales or in a startup somewhere. These environments tend to have a very casual and laid-back vibe which is great. However, don’t fall into the mindset that just because the employees wear jeans to work you can wear jeans to the interview. This is a company’s first impression of you. Make it count. Make sure you wear a suit jacket and tie or a professional blouse and blazer. Once you’ve been hired, then you can wear what you want (within reason, of course), but until then make sure you are always looking like your best self. Dress well, feel better.
- Don’t ask about things like salary and hours on the first interview!
It’s super important to come to the interview prepared with questions, but you want to be careful to ask questions that are interesting and thoughtful. While it’s tempting to want to know how much you’ll be paid or how many hours a week you’ll be working, save those questions for the very end of the interview process once you know there’s a good fit with everything else. Questions are a great way for you to learn more about your potential employer and the specific role you’ll have within a company, as well as a chance to show you’ve done your homework. Try and ask questions specific to your interviewer or the role you applied for, and reference something you’ve read or that they mentioned. You should come with a list of questions ready to ask, but make sure to take note of what’s said throughout the interview that could bring up new questions as well.
- Don’t forget to follow up!
One of the biggest and most common mistakes I see actually happens after the interview is over. Closing the interview and following up is just as important as any other part of the interview process. Now, when I say “close the interview”, I mean thank the interviewer for their time and ask for the next steps and for a business card to follow up with. It shows that you’re excited and committed to the process. Additionally, I cannot stress enough the importance of thank you notes. Just trust me on this one. I’ve seen great candidates not get jobs only because they didn’t follow up and send a thank you. As soon as you leave the interview, send a simple and brief email to each person you spoke with thanking them for their time and once again expressing interest or excitement in next steps. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it goes a long way.
Interviewing can be nerve-wracking, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a necessity of the job hunt, so do your homework and show them how awesome you are! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. The more you prepare, the better you’ll feel.