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Posted: 8/16/2001 6:46:13 AM EDT
Interview Errors Avoiding these common mistakes could win you the job. By Jim Owen Even though we're enjoying one of the hottest job markets in decades, career advisors warn that you still won't land your dream job if you don't do well at the job interview. Many job hunters unwittingly sabotage their own chances by making common, but easily avoidable, interview mistakes. They will agonize over their resumes and cover letters but rehearse only minutes for what arguably is the most vital step in the whole job hunting process, says Emory Mulling, an executive career coach and president of the Mulling Group in Atlanta. Here are five common interviewing blunders that can cost you the job: Arriving unprepared. Before setting foot in the company's offices, be sure you're well-versed in as many of the firm's products or services as possible. Try to make sure you can discuss knowledgeably how your skills and background will mesh with those of the company, says Mulling. You also need to have all your materials that you may wish to show right at hand. Wearing the wrong clothes. Experts say that no matter what the corporate culture--whether khakis and polo shirts or three piece suits--you should still dress professionally for that first interview. Simple, conservative business attire for both men and women are still the standard. No heavy fragrances, loud clothes or flashy jewelry. Talking too much during the interview. Some candidates are so eager to impress the interviewer that they scarcely allow questions to be asked. You wouldn't be in the interviewer's office if you hadn't already demonstrated your appeal. Use the actual interview to impress the interviewer with your listening skills, and then thoughtfully lay out why you'll be an asset to the company. Undervaluing or overvaluing your worth. The first won't necessarily cost you the job, but the second definitely could. In either case, it pays not to bring up salaries too early, if at all, in the first interview. Once the company has made its offer, then it's appropriate to ask for between 10 and 20 percent more than that, depending partly on what your previous salary was. If you're right for the job, you'll get a reasonable offer. Acting desperate for the job. Even if you've been on the job market for some time, the last thing most hiring managers want is someone who looks too eager. "It makes me think there's something wrong with them," admits a Washington, D.C., human resources manager. If you've been asked in for an interview, then the company believes you have something to offer because of your skills and experience. Don't derail that by acting too eager or nervous, or by asking questions such as, "When would you want me to start?" Instead, appear confident, relaxed and in control. Jim Owen is a freelance journalist who has written extensively for newspapers and magazines for over a decade. He lives in Arlington, VA, with his wife and son.
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