Job Interview. Two words that seem so simple, but for those who are not used to sitting on a verdict chair, speaking and selling what skills they have to offer, and making eye contact with someone they barely even know is a lot of work to do. Some people might think, that a job interview is a little biased, because the extroverts have an edge while the introverts struggle. In the past, this could be true—but this is modern times. People persons and lone-wolves have a fair cut of chances in acing an interview—provided that mistakes are avoided.
Of course, people holding an interview have their standards. It’s not just about skills and talking. And believe it or not, when you’re seated on that chair and you screw it up, it could be likely that you’re not getting the job, chamaco. So, as cheesy at it may seem, there’s nothing wrong with preparing for an interview, rehearsing your ‘tell me about yourself’ speech, and reading an article about something, like, top 5 common mistakes during a job interview, perhaps? No, really, there really isn’t!
So, When Did a Job Interview Started?
When did it really start? You’d probably think, ‘Hey, that never crossed my mind—until now!’ Let’s have a little history check for the sake of new learning, shall we?
In the Bible times (or the old times), there really was not any ‘job’ classification. It was a game of survival and getting all the bare necessities (insert Mowgli and Baloo). Social status is defined by how big the flock of sheep, cow, bull, or any animal, farm, or vineyard you own. If you’re a man, your main job is to hunt for food, take care of the flock, or farm. If you’re a woman, your job is to take care of whatever consumables your man has provided.
It wasn’t until in the 17th and 18th century that ‘jobs’ evolved a little. Fathers passed on whatever they have and know to their sons, while mothers taught their daughters about home-making. It wasn’t really a job, per se, but a responsibility passed down onto the next generation, so that the legacy continues. (Now, that sounds more like how mega businesses go nowadays!)
But not every father begets a son, right? What about those who were not able to have children? That is when apprenticeship was born. When tradesmen have no one to pass their knowledge onto, they began hiring apprentices. Still, there was no interview or process of choosing the qualified. (But who knows, there probably might.) Men get to choose who they want as an apprentice, and the latter gets to be trained of everything the master knows. You see the big difference? In a job interview, you are asked of what you already know and are simply hired if you make the cut. But in the old times, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know anything about job, you are chosen (for a subjective reason, most likely) and are trained once you’re picked. One great example was the late US President Benjamin Franklin. He served as an apprentice to his older brother. Now, why his older brother and not his father? This is just a conclusion, and it probably is right or wrong. But in the old times, (probably still is applicable today), it is a common protocol that first born males, or whoever is older gets the family business—first. Still, he wasn’t left out and served as an apprentice; and look what he got into more, he became the President of the US of A!
Fast forward to the 18th century, employment became rampant, but it was measured down to strength than intellectual ability. More skilled workers were needed for various production jobs, and the weak ones were easily replaced. So, qualifications were really dependent on how far you can do it—and that’s just about it. A job interview was really far from happening because massive work force was in demand, and there really was no time to check each worker’s skills. You want the job, then, you’re in. If you can’t go on any further, then you’re out.
Now, in the year 1830, the birth of transportation changed everything. It involved technology and machines. Work load became not as simple as one, two, and three. It required intelligence. And in the dawn of 19th century, technology in transportation and education came a long way. More people were getting into college, researching and discovering what science and technology has to offer.
Well, who would have thought that a job interview will be created by someone whom you probably have heard, at one point, in your history class—Thomas Edison, the greatest American inventor. Thomas Edison was a genius—and he will always be one in the eyes of many. Now, we all know that a person who is highly intellectual raises the bar when it comes to standards. And this is what happened to Thomas Edison. He was a genius, and no one was able to get past his standards when he tried looking for people who could work for him. What he did gave birth to the very first job interview—he created a written test to see who would make the cut, according to his head knowledge. Sadly, this written test was leaked and published in the New York Times. It might seem bad at that time, but if you look at it today, there’s no better way than publishing a leaked exam to mark the history’s first ever interview, don’t you think?
And then, the rest was a series of tangling history. Different ways of interviewing an applicant were invented; now, there’s the phone interview, video conference, online chat, and email sign-up. With the help of third party job sites, like LinkedIn and Jobstreet, it’s easier for applicants and companies to reach out to each other.
Did you know: Thomas Edison’s interview questions probably got as vague as: “Who was Hannibal?”, “How is Sulphuric Acid made?”, “Where do we get cork from?”
Various interview schemes may have been created, but nothing beats the classic one—face-to-face. And although this is modern times, fate-to-face interview never went out of the picture because it is still the best way to evaluate an applicant. But the real question is, and this is what this article is all about, what does really make an interview a big fail? Here are the top 5 common mistakes during an interview—that you must avoid:
#1: You’re Late
Who would love the idea that your interviewer arrived earlier than you did? Tardiness is a big no-no, not only in an interview, but also in first-days of school, job, special occasions, and weddings! You probably have noticed, conventional interviews are being scheduled at an early hour. Common sense tells us that it’s likely because the company would like to see how eagerly you want that interview. Arriving late is one of the few things that will pull you down on that chance. And no, excuses might be taken gracefully, like stuck on a traffic, personal matters, or anything, but still, you will not be able to get rid of the fact that, well, you arrived late—and you’ve initially made the impression that you’re tardy. So, the next time you have your interview, pretty please, DON’T BE LATE.
#2: Arriving Looking Poorly Dressed
We are not saying that the society is judgemental (although some may), but what we are saying is this: Interview is a formal discussion, at least take a little effort to make yourself look presentable; so, the interviewer will see that you’re really in for it—seriously. You know, there’s an idiom ‘dressed to kill’ to make a lasting impression. Well, you can very well apply this to your interview, because believe it or not, there are some employers who really include outside appearance in their standards; especially, if what you are applying for is a job that includes public relations and marketing.
Iron your clothes the night before, hang them on your dresser, polish your shoes, use formal or semi-formal attire with earth colors (not too bright). If you’re a woman, apply light make-up and lipstick in nude colors. Tie your hair decently, so you won’t have to comb it away from your face when you’re facing one-on-one with the interviewer. If you’re a man, wax your hair in decent style (not Mohawk!) Don’t wear long-sleeved top that is too bright. Wear pants and coat in earth color shades. And most importantly, don’t wear too strong a perfume; use just enough to make you smell clean, but not too much that your scent has to reach the person a meter away from you. Long and short of it, it’s good to look good during an interview.
#3: You Didn’t Print Your Resume
Ok, some might say, ‘Hey, why do I have to print it, I already sent one when I applied online?’ First of all, you are kind of right there, because that’s what convenience the virtual world offers. Why print one when you’ve already sent one, right? But the thing is, not all HR employees have the time to print all those CVs for the applicants. HR people do many jobs, and interviewing applicants is just one of them. So, most of the time, they really don’t have the leisure to prepare for your coming. They usually have these interviews scheduled, sit on that chair and evaluate you; and after that, they go with their other usual tasks. Secondly, it is for formality that you have to bring a physical copy of your CV, along with your portfolio (if applicable), when going to an interview. It makes you look professionally ready. If you don’t have all the time to print those little pieces of paper, then here’s a tip: Schedule your free day, update your resume and portfolio, and have them printed in multiple copies, and keep them in one handy folder. This way, no matter how many companies you apply for, you’re sure that your CV is not out of reach.
#4: You Bad-Mouthed Your Previous Employer/Company
There is a saying that goes, ‘Never ever bite the hands that feed you.’—and that includes ALL the companies that you’ve worked for in the past. You probably have encountered in one of the interviews you’ve had, when the HR asked you how was the previous company you’ve worked for. Be vigilant and wise, because with a little probing, you might be spilling some information that might smudge your previous company’s reputation. It’s OK to tell the HR the reason why you’re looking for another job is because you want a higher raise; but what is not right is telling them how uncompetitive and unfair your previous employer was and that is why you left there. Remember, whatever wrong your previous company has done to you, always look at the fact that it helped you in making ends meet—and that should be good enough of a reason to keep you lip-tight from speaking bad things. Besides, if the interviewer heard you speaking such words, it’s like you gave them an example of what you will tell other companies about them—should they hire you. Don’t be like that. Just don’t.
#5: You’re Just Too Friendly—Way Too Friendly
It is considerable for other applicants to establish rapport when being interviewed. Of course, one would want to feel comfortable and shake off those nerves. Telling appropriate jokes, laughing on light comments, and smiling are all good ways—as long as not too much. Whether you’re a man or a woman, get this: always know the thin line between being friendly and too friendly. Be open but decent, allowing the interviewer to get the impression that you’re easy to get along with when it comes to corporate relationships. Never do something that will make them think you’re flirtatious and down for anything. The way you speak, the way you look at the interviewer, the way you use gestures, and the way you smile—all these could pave a way for misinterpretation. So, be wise.
Now that you already have an idea about the top 5 mistakes during an interview, you sure know what to do to avoid these! So, go and ace that interview and remember, if you’ve done your best and you still didn’t get it, then it is not God’s will. Try and try until you land in the job that’s just right for you!
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