The year after I graduated college was the biggest reality slap of my life. I thought that my college diploma would be like my golden ticket to enter the workforce. Boy, was I pushed down a few pegs fast. There are many components to successfully landing a job, having your college degree is only one of them. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received regarded the job interview process. Your interview is, in my opinion, the most important piece in a job search puzzle. Through my experiences I’ve learned some surprising interview slip-ups that can be easily avoided:
Your social media jargon is lame. Whether we like it or not, potential employers are looking at our social media profiles. If your Facebook wall or Twitter feed is littered with u’s and luv’s, it makes you look immature. Other things to be conscious of is not tweeting during work hours, constantly talking about your social life and swearing. Some good practices are smart retweets and mentions of industry players. While you’re researching a company, take note of some clients the company represents and consider interacting with them via social media!
Overuse of your “In.” A recent survey conducted by Michigan State University found that 32 percent of large companies have received resumes from parents on behalf of their kids. It’s fine if your parents make the initial intro to a potential employer, but make sure to send your own email or phone call to follow up.
You pumped up your digital footprint. Stating that you’re skilled with Microsoft Office has lost its “wow” factor. Now, it’s a given. Stating that you’re “social media savvy” has to mean more than you know how to tweet. News flash — everyone does. Unless you have experience in web analytics, viral campaigns or managing an account with a substantial number of followers, be cautious to talk about your social media skills.
You were over-friendly. It’s okay to Google your interviewer before your meeting — he/she has probably looked you up as well. But be careful how you use that information. Make sure to keep it professional, even if your conversation crosses into personal territory.
You have a lot of baggage. Literally. If you come into an interview with an armful of shopping bags, it will seem as if your meeting is just another stop in your list of things to do that day. Also, be hesitant to show up with a cup of coffee, as it may give off the impression that you are there to be entertained, and could also be perceived as rude.
You admired the perks, not the position. Avoid mentioning the awesome cafeteria and instead mention the stuff that they’d actually pay you to do. Talk about how your interests line up with the job description, not the office vibe. Focus on one thing in particular in the job description that you really excel it, and talk yourself up on that.
You really dressed to impress. Make sure not to use designer clothes or accessories in an obvious way, such as plucking down your Coach purse on the interviewer’s desk. This may come off as you trying to prove yourself through your attire and not through your talents.
You may have spoken to soon. Wait until you are a safe distance away from the building before picking up your phone to make your victory call. By making your call in the building (i.e. in the bathroom), you run too high a risk of someone overhearing. A victory call made within earshot could be considered as cocky, and you may not hear from the company again.
If you’re a small business owner, what are some surprising mistakes potential candidates can make during an interview? Let us know by leaving a comment below.