You have a great resume, a cover letter that dazzles, impecable references–the only think left is the interview. So make sure you don’t make these mistakes:
1. Don’t show up late!
The easiest way to look bad right off the bat is to show up late. It gives the impression that you’re unresponsible and makes the interviewer feel that their time isn’t important to you. When planning for your interview give yourself enough time for traffic jams, a late train, bad weather and whatever else could happen. And if you arrive early you’ll have more time to relax and prepare.
2. Don’t appear disinterested.
There may be some points in an interview when you determine this job simply isn’t the right fit. It that happens, do NOT show it! Remember that the interviewer does not exist in a vacuum. He or she has friends, relatives, and associates who may influence future job opportunities. If you behave poorly, the interviewer will remember and will share the story of you and your unprofessional behavior with others. Haven’t you shared bad job search experiences with people close to you? The interviewer is probably no different.
3. Don’t be unprepared.
There’s nothing worse than interviewing someone who doesn’t even know what your municipality does. Take some time before your interview to conduct research. Learn about the municipality, try to talk with existing employees, gain insight into their industry. Excellent sources of information include the Internet, periodicals, and experts in the field.
4. Don’t forget to be polite.
No matter how old fashioned it appears to use words like please, sir, ma’am, and thank you, do not delete these words from your vocabulary. These simple words can work wonders towards making a positive impression. Always use a respectful tone of voice. Do not unnecessarily interrupt the interviewer. Maintain eye contact and a pleasant expression. Leave the slang, slouching, and gum chewing at home. Good manners signal respect for yourself and the people around you; never underestimate their importance.
5. Don’t dress down.
No matter how layed back or casual a municipality is, always “dress up” for an interview and remember it’s not time to express your individuality. Always remember that your goal is to gain employment, not to make a fashion statement. Accordingly, you should not dress in any way that will distract attention from you and your qualifications. Things to avoid include unconventional hair colors, excessive jewelry and makeup, and any clothes that you would wear to a nightclub. Do your best to dress accordingly. If there is any doubt, err on the side of being overdressed.
6. Don’t lie.
Never, ever lie during an interview. Mistruths have an uncanny habit of catching up to people. If the interviewer catches you in a lie during the interview, you have seriously damaged your chances of being hired. After all, would you hire someone that you couldn’t trust? If your employer finds out you lied after you have been hired, it could be grounds for dismissal. Even if they do not dismiss you, you are still in serious trouble as you have damaged your integrity in the eyes of your boss. The bottom line is that you should always be truthful when interviewing.
7. Don’t be modest.
When searching for the right job, put your modesty aside. Don’t be afraid to confidently describe your skills and accomplishments. After all, if you don’t sing your praises to your potential boss, then who will? Don’t count on your resume to do all the work; it is only a tool to help you land the interview. Once you get your foot in the door, it is up to you to convince the interviewer that you are the ideal person for the job. Worried that you will come across as conceited instead of self-confident? Then practice how and what you will say with a friend or family member who can provide honest feedback.
8. Don’t forget a thank you note.
Once the interview has concluded, take a few moments to jot down your impressions of the interviewer, what you talked about and any interesting points that were brought up during the meeting. The ideal time and place to do this is in your car as soon as you have exited the building, as your thoughts will be most fresh at this time. Use this information as you compose a well thought out thank you note to the interviewer. Mail this note no later than the day following the interview. Remember, promptness signals interest.
By avoiding these eight simple mistakes, you can improve your chances of having a successful interview and landing the job of your dreams.