Tag Archives: Job Interviewing Advice

Dumb Mistakes That Will Wreck Your Job Interview

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You put a lot of time into your resume and your LinkedIn profile. You devote plenty of energy to filling out applications and winning the attention of recruiters. And you expend a lot of mental energy thinking about—and fretting about—your career prospects.

So don’t let it all be for nothing. Don’t wreck your job interview by making a dumb, careless error.

Believe us, it happens—and more often than you might think. Just consider some of these all-too-common, all-too-fatal interview faux pas:

Showing up at the interview with a Monster energy drink/iced coffee/water bottle in your hands. The only thing to bring to your interview is your resume, and, if applicable, a portfolio of your work. Don’t show up with drinks or snacks, because, for one thing, it makes you look like a delivery man. For a second thing, it will leave you with wet or grubby hands. And for a third thing, it makes it seem like the interview is cutting into your snack time. Not a good vibe.

Dressing in a slovenly, unprofessional, or ostentatious manner. Yes, even in an era of somewhat relaxed corporate dress codes, your interview attire still matters.

Showing up even a little bit late. Really: Being tardy by even a minute can set the tone for the whole interview. Trust us: It will be noticed. Don’t risk it. Plan on showing up about 15 minutes early, to give yourself a buffer.

Lying! Don’t fudge the truth, even a little. The interviewer will consult your resume, call your references, and find you out. Interview dishonesty is always discovered.

Focusing all your attention on salary/benefits. Yes, obviously, you want to know about these things—and the interviewer should tell you. If at all possible, though, let the interviewer bring it up. You want to come across like you actually care about the job, not just the vacation days.

Being aloof. Above all, don’t act like you are disinterested in the job. Enthusiasm goes a long way. You don’t need to act foolish or cartoony, but do make it clear that you want the job and are passionate about what you do.

Don’t let a stupid mistake jeopardize your career prospects. Show up at the interview ready for business. That means bringing along a solid, compelling resume—which is something we can help you with! Call Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Job Interview Taboo: Words You Should Never Say

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Do you struggle to know what to say during a job interview?

Maybe it would be helpful to take a counter approach: To think about the things you really shouldn’t say during an interview.

There are certain words, phrases, and topics of conversation that immediately convey a negative impression and can derail your interview progress before you really have a chance. Our list is certainly not exhaustive, but perhaps it can help you think more constructively and strategically about how to present yourself in an interview!

One-Word Answers—Especially “No”

First, remember that the point of a job interview is for the interviewer to get to know you and your skillsets better, and for you to make a case for the value you can offer. As such, when you’re asked a yes or no question, providing just a single-word answer is never actually prudent. You don’t want to prattle on or to go off-topic, but you do want to provide an answer that’s a bit fuller and more specific than just yes or no.

You especially don’t want to offer a simple, curt no, which is akin to slamming an open door in the interviewer’s face. “Do you know how to use Google Analytics?” “No—but I am eager to learn!” Always turn your no into something more open, more affirmative.

Resume Clichés

We’ve written before about some of the resume buzzwords that are best omitted from your vocabulary. That includes your interview as well as your resume. When asked to describe yourself or your skills, saying that you’re hard-working or motivated or driven comes across as dreadfully empty and vacuous.

And what would really be bad is if the interviewer asks you what you mean by these awful buzzwords, and you don’t have a ready answer!

Informal Language and Slang

We’d recommend canning any language that might come across as too casual; you don’t ever want to seem like you’re anything less than totally professional and totally committed to making a strong impression. This means that cool and kinda are out, but also slang and Internet jargon.

“We”

Your job interview is an opportunity for you to take credit for your achievements. It’s not really the time to be modest or egalitarian and share the credit with everyone else. If your response to every question involves a “we”—your co-workers or your team—then the interviewer might rightly wonder if you know how to do anything on your own.

The bottom line is that you want to offer answers that are complete yet concise; detailed, on-topic, and, of course, fairly flattering to your own skills and abilities! To learn more, feel free to consult the Grammar Chic, Inc. team. We can be reached at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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The Jobseeker’s Guide to Good Manners

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Last week at the Grammar Chic blog, we stressed the importance of finesse in the job search process; we warned that there is such a thing as being overly aggressive, and that while assertiveness is important, so are good manners.

Today, we’re going to dive a bit further into the second half of that equation, and note exactly what jobseekers need to remember about proper etiquette.

Remember that first impressions count for quite a bit in the job search—and a simple slip of protocol or breach of etiquette can poison the well and prevent you from wowing a potential employer.

Some specific tips:

  1. Respect people’s time. If you send your resume and get a confirmation of its receipt, then you don’t need to keep e-mailing your resume over and over. Checking in after a few days is one thing, but don’t become a nuisance. Remember that employers and hiring managers have plenty to do besides offer you status reports and sift through your e-mails.
  2. Remember that you’re not in charge of scheduling interviews. Wait for the employer or HR person to set up a time, rather than taking this upon yourself. Like we said in our previous entry, aggression can be off-putting.
  3. In an interview, listen when people speak. Try to avoid having to ask people to repeat themselves, and definitely avoid giving irrelevant or rambling answers to a question.
  4. Leave your phone in the car. You don’t need to be checking e-mail or silencing incoming calls all through an interview. Give the process your full attention. Leave your cell in the glove box.
  5. Send a thank-you note. A bit of gratitude goes a long way. Send a thank-you note on the same day as your interview, if at all possible!
  6. Proofread your resume. Handing someone a resume loaded with typos and grammatical errors is, frankly, a little disrespectful.
  7. Be nice to people. This is as basic as it gets, but it’s also wildly important. Again: You only have one shot at forming a warm and amiable first impression.

For more job search tips, or for resume assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our team today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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