For job hunters, getting called for an interview is a great feeling — but getting a call for a second interview is even better.
Although you prepared for your first interview by rehearsing your answers to questions, providing a detailed history of your career accomplishments and positioning your skillset as a top contender, there could be mistakes you’re making that are hurting your hiring chances.
Three HR leaders shared flubs and mistakes you could be making that could take you from the A list to right off the hiring list.
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Here’s what you need to know.
Interview mistake No. 1: Showing up unprepared
The No. 1 mistake is to show up unprepared, according to Marc Cenedell, founder of Ladders and Leet Resumes, based in New York.
“If you’re not going to show up well-prepared, then it would be better not to show up at all,” he said.
Being prepared is more than the basics of dressing professionally and having a copy of your resume on hand.
“I’m talking about being ready on a deeper level by studying the company where you will interview,” he said.
Knowing about the company you hope to join is vital, especially to hiring managers.
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“It’s surprisingly common for interviewers to find out candidates clearly have no idea about what the company does, who it serves or how the applicant’s skills can support the mission,” Cenedella said.
Another expert called out the issues of being unprepared.
“A lack of preparedness is one of the biggest mistakes I see during interviews,” confirmed Tiffany McGowen, vice president of recruiting at Paycom. She’s based in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“I’ve had candidates look perfect on paper but not know anything about our company, which could take them out of the candidate pool,” she said.
Interview mistake No. 2: Being dishonest
Lying is a surefire way to make sure you don’t get a call back, cautioned Cenedella.
“You may think that you’re getting something by the interviewer, but it’s likely you’ll be found out. Don’t make up achievements or claim credit for other people’s work,” he said.
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Also, watch inconsistent statements that can tip the interviewer off, especially if you’ve exaggerated your skillset.
“It’s always easy to see through candidates who exaggerate their past experiences,” noted McGowen with Paycom.
“I’ve seen countless candidates perfectly recite their resume but freeze when I ask them to elaborate on specific achievements. If you can’t articulate your impact — I’m less likely to call back for a second interview.”
Interview mistake No. 3: Being negative
Few people want to work with a person who seems like a disgruntled downer from the start, said Cenedella.
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“Be positive and kind from the moment you arrive and treat everyone you encounter – not just the interviewer – with respect,” he said.
During an interview, don’t badmouth a former employer or your coworkers.
“Aside from the fact that your interviewer may personally know them, complaining gives the impression that you don’t take responsibility for your own actions,” Cenedella told FOX Business
McGowen with Paycom told FOX Business that she’s seen a fair share of candidates being overly negative about their current or past employer.
It is definitely not a wise step for job candidates, she indicated.
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“Paycom recruiters are trained to get a culture read on candidates,” she said. “We want employees who truly embody our values, and spending interview time bashing old employers is a fast way to show you won’t be a good fit.”
Tips to improve your chances
So what are some of the top interview tips for increasing your chances of receiving a call back?
Interviews can be overwhelming, said Rob Hosking, executive director for administrative and customer support practice with Robert Half who is based in Toronto, Ontario.
He provided some tips to help people move in the right direction.
“Curiosity demonstrates genuine interest in the position.”
Do your research. He said most hiring managers believe that having knowledge of the company will set you apart.
Come prepared to your interview. It will help give you a leg up on your competition and impress your interviewer.
Ask good questions. “Curiosity demonstrates genuine interest in the position, so prepare a few relevant questions,” Hosking said.
Showcase your soft skills. Employers are assessing candidates’ interpersonal skills, said Hosking.
Your demeanor, professionalism and communication skills are important in the evaluation.
Have responses for hard-hitting questions. Be prepared for direct questions — such as your salary expectations and why you want to leave your current job, he suggested.
Send a “thank you” note or email after interviews. Be sure to thank your interview for his or her time and consideration — and express your continued interest in the next steps.
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