How To: Screw Up an Interview

Didn’t get a call back on your last interview? Or you did but it wasn’t good news? Chances are you may have committed one of these interview sins.

If you want to be a tough young female professional you’re going to have to show it. Employers want to know they are hiring the best candidate, and it’s your to convince them it’s you.

Here’s a list of five simple ways to NOT get your dream job:

Be Unappreciative.

The interview process is long and grueling. Not just for you, but for the recruiter and hiring manager that have sifted through hundreds of resumes and are looking for the easiest reason to eliminate you from their long list of potential candidates.

So if you want to make an impact – be thankful. Thank them for taking the time to talk to you, thank them if they open the door for you, and thank them for interest in your qualifications. Okay, now don’t go overboard and be “that girl,” but showing you are courteous and well-mannered goes a long way.

Blend In.

In 6th grade if everyone was wearing a Hollister shirt, you just had to have one too. But this is not 6th grade. The last thing you should do in an interview is be just like everyone else.

Find one or two things that you really think set yourself apart and emphasize them! But make sure they are truly original, because thinking you’re more “innovative” than the next candidate really doesn’t say anything about who you are, or why they should hire you.

Just Show Up.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to an interview your biggest concern is probably what you’re wearing and if your shirt is well ironed. If so, it’s no surprise you haven’t gotten your dream job yet.

Before an interview you need to do research on the company that you are visiting. Don’t just Google “company x” and read the first thing that pops up, but really do some digging. Check their website and see what they’ve been working on, look in the news to see if they’ve gotten publicity over anything lately and look at their stock to see how they’ve been doing financially.

Good or bad findings are both great talking points. Companies like to know you are interested in them specifically – not just finding a paycheck.

Be Modest.

This is the one place you can brag and people won’t roll their eyes at you. Don’t dumb down your accomplishments because you don’t want to seem cocky.

Hiring managers are looking for applicants who make an impact, receive awards and have more than a ‘great internship experience.’ Be detailed, be excited and be honest. If you’ve done great things that are relevant to the position you are applying for make sure you emphasize them!

Read Your Resume.

Most likely, the reason you are sitting in an interview chair is because the company’s recruiter was impressed by your resume and passed it on to the hiring manager. So there is no need to repeat any of the bullet points you delicately crafted for your resume.

Sad, I know. Believe me, I’ve put a lot of time into writing my resume bullet points too. But in an interview talk about specific things you have done that aren’t on your resume. Give them stories and examples that they won’t forget after they shake your hand.

Preparing for Professionalism

Okay, so we all know that appearance is key. What we wear and how we look represent our personal brand. That’s why it is so important to take the time to prep. You can’t be a tough girl with chipped nail polish and split ends. Since many college students, including myself, are hot on the job hunt, I thought I would put together a list of tips I’ve learned from recruiters on preparing for professionalism.

PAINT YOURconservativeanils NAILS APPROPRIATELY. Yes, long acrylic nails with stripes, hearts or sparkles may be this year’s trend, but they aren’t professional. You have two option – keep them natural or keep them conservative. Personally, I opt for light pink or dark red OPI colors, because they look nice and don’t chip as quickly as other brands. Properly and conservatively painted nails show that you take the time to care for yourself.

IRON YOUR SHIRT. Now this is a tip I feel silly including, but you’d be surprised how many young women don’t iron! This tip goes back to attention to detail, but wrinkles look sloppy and careless.

CLEAN YOUR SHOES. One of the most surprising comments I’ve heard is how much recruiters and hiring managers pay attention to a candidIMG_0720ates shoes. First, choose appropriate and conservative shoes that you are comfortable walking in. Do not wear the same shoes you’d stumble out to the bar in ladies! Next, make sure your shoes are free of dirt and scuff marks. The attention to detail you pay to your appearance reflects onto the time you’ll pay attention to detail on the job. Personally, I recommend wearing heels to professional events, because not only does it exert professionalism and power – it boosts your self-confidence!

 GET A TRIM. Most of us are dying for long locks like the Victoria’s Secret Models all seem to have, and some young women sacrifice haircuts because they want their hair to grow out. But we’ve all heard trims every 8 weeks will help our hair grow faster anyways. Especially before a networking opportunity, go and get a trim. You’ll want to look polished and prepared, and it is very difficult to do so with split ends or unruly bangs.

WEAR NYLONS. This tip nylonstook me a bit by surprise, because nylons are somewhat generational. A few decades ago, a woman wouldn’t dare leaving the house in a skirt without wearing nylons, but now days we rarely wear them. Even though many of us still have young flaw-free legs, nylons are a must. Make sure your nylons are snag-free and you choose an appropriate color for your skin tone.

These five tips come directly from hiring recruiters in regards to career fairs, networking nights and interviews. The number one message emphasized by everyone I spoke with was that recruiters are trained to notice the little things. This means if you don’t think they’ll notice a stain on your shirt – they will.