The current American unemployment rate is about 4% – the lowest it has been in decades. However, many of the jobs in this rate are low-paying, part-time, and seasonal jobs. Americans have jobs, but they aren’t all making enough money to pay the bills. So, whether you are young or older, the time may come to interview for a new position.
No matter what age you are, there is always interview-related etiquette you should follow. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Unfortunately, too many people have no idea the impression they are leaving when they interview for a new job. On your way to a job interview? Make sure you avoid these common mistakes.
Arriving Too Early or Too Late
You won’t be the only interviewee of the day. If you arrive too early or too late, you might be remembered for all of the wrong reasons. Map out your destination route to the interview well in advance and give yourself plenty of travel time to avoid being late. Try to arrive no more than 15 minutes early for your interview.
If you arrive an hour or two early, you’ll look desperate. Also, you may inconvenience the employees attending to you, giving them more work to do. Get some coffee, relax, and wait for your designated interview time. Make sure you are not late either. It shows you are not dependable. Also, why should a potential employer make any interviewees after you wait because of your tardiness?
Not Dressing Appropriately
I used to consider a tie to be the unfashionable noose around the style of my soul. A cubicle uniform accessory. Many workplaces allow for casual attire. But if you are headed for a job interview you may want to ask about appropriate attire a few days before you arrive. A three-piece suit or debutante ball gown may not be necessary, but torn jeans, sandals, sunglasses, or heavy metal t-shirts won’t work either. Always dress professionally.
Lying About Your Prior Experience
We live at the dawn of the digital age. A 10-year old with a smart device can perform viable fact-checking on anything. Lying about any prior professional achievements, skills, or abilities to your potential employer could be a gambit not work taking. If it says on your resume that you have a doctorate in anything, it can be verified. Lying on your resume or in a job interview is like walking into a minefield of your own making.
Claim you can speak Mandarin? Your potential employer may have a Mandarin-speaking employee sit-in on the interview to test you. Don’t lie or embellish on your resume. Trust in your true skills and abilities and attest to those in the interview. Or, take a chance that your B.S. gets embarrassingly called out during your interview.
Distracted by Your Phone or Social Media
The modern human has an extremely short attention span and is perhaps unhealthily attached to technology and social media. In fact, the average person spends more than two hours a day on social media, or, five years over a typical lifetime. Another study finds Americans collectively, check their smart devices and social media activities over 8 billion times a day. Still, addiction to social media is no reason to wittingly or unwittingly sabotage a job interview.
Turn your cell phone off or put it on mute. Surely, you can go a half hour without checking to see if your 5,000th Facebook friend request has been accepted. Keep your focus on your interviewer and your motivation to pay your bills. Are you really going to ask your job interviewer to wait a few moments while you take a call or check your social media accounts? If you can’t maintain focus during the job interview, your interviewer may not focus on you as a candidate for the job.
Keep It In Perspective
A job interviewer wants to know why you would be a productive member of their staff. Focus on your skills and abilities. Answer all questions professionally. You are giving your potential employer a glimpse of yourself as a potential employee in an interview. Make the right impressions.
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Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.