There are currently 6.6 million jobs available in the United States.  The good news is that companies are hiring.  The bad news is that there will be some that don’t get the job they are interviewing for.  Sometimes there are just more qualified candidates but other times there are avoidable mistakes that happen during the interview.  As an HR professional I have seen it all. Sometimes you think “what was that person thinking”?

Here are some of the biggest mistake that candidates often make:

  1. Not researching the company ahead of time. Coming prepared with information about the company tells the potential employer that you are willing to take initiative and a self-starter.


  1. They don’t have any questions. Even if you have had several interviews with several individuals within the company you should still have questions about the position, company, expectations, etc.  Prepare a list of questions ahead of time that you can bring with you to the interview.


  1. Dressing inappropriately. This comes under the heading of doing your research.  If the company has local offices or is a retail location, make the visit prior to your interview so that you are prepared and know the environment.  If unsure you can’t go wrong in a suit. If overdressed you will still be professional.


  1. While compensation and benefits are important it should not be the first thing inquired about during the interview.


  1. Being late. It is always better to show up an hour early and sit in your car than to be late for an interview.  If circumstances prevent you from being on time, call the appropriate individuals to make them aware.


  1. Be transparent. Interviewers appreciate it, and if information is not divulged during the interview process but comes up after hired it could result in termination.


  1. Always treat each interview within the company as your first. I have seen individuals get to the third or fourth interview and feel that they have it in the bag and not be on point during the final interview.


Now here are some of the things I have seen eliminate candidates for consideration.

While interviewing a candidate for a position and after asking several questions it was apparent that she had done no research into the company. I asked her why I should hire her and her response was “I just show up and being me”


I was doing a Skype interview and during the interview I noticed information in the background about a bank.  I realized that he was at his current job and when I asked him about it he told me that yes, he was at his current job.  I wanted to know did he see anything wrong with that and he responded “no, my manager is also looking for a job”.  When he was informed that we weren’t going to move forward with the interview process he was upset and told me I had wasted his time.


During another Skype interview I was interviewing a candidate for a luxury retail company with a very conservative dress code and the candidate had on a plaid flannel shirt.


There is one interview that stands out.  I was working with a company that had several brands and the candidate didn’t divulge that she was interviewing for another brand at the same time.  As a company we didn’t compete within the brands. All the hiring managers had access to each other and available jobs. 


I called the candidate to extend the offer and during that time it came out that she was interviewing for our other brand. By the way she was at her current job and took the call.  When she realized what she had done she told me that she would call me back.  In the meantime, she called the other brand to see if she could accept the offer that they had just extended to her.


Myself and the other hiring manager were in contact with each other.  Needless to say, she didn’t get either position at that point.


So, there are definitely do’s and don’ts for interviews. 

Make sure that you are on the DO end!

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