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How to Avoid Interview Blunders

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , , , ,
POSTED: December 8, 2009 at 10:11 am

In today’s multi-media world, the face-to-face interview, with the applicant’s appearance/demeanor rehearsed and polished won’t always be the first contact the individual will have with the hiring manager. Nor will candidates always meet with one person.

Each type of interview has its pitfalls. Here’s what to avoid:

Phone Interviews:

  1. Always, if possible, provide a land-line phone for the interviewer to reach you. Nothing is more irritating than a cell phone connection that hisses, crackles, cuts out, and hangs up on the interviewer. If a hiring manager gets dead air, they may not call back.
  2. Make certain background noise is kept to a minimum. Keep a phone extension in a quiet place – a home office or a bedroom – away from TV noise, and barking dogs.
  3. If you’re snacking on taco chips when the phone rings, swallow quickly and don’t take another bite until the interview is over.
  4. Keep a glass of water handy should your throat tickle during the interview.
  5. Don’t smoke or chew gun – the noises can be heard on the other end of the line.
  6. Never, ever, answer call waiting during a phone interview. Give the hiring authority your complete attention – if you don’t, you won’t move deeper into the process.

Lunch interviews:

  1. Never order the most expensive item on the menu
  2. Never drink alcohol
  3. Don’t order ‘challenging’ food – short ribs, greasy sandwiches, and lobster come to mind
  4. Don’t criticize the quality of the food or the service
  5. Don’t ask for a ‘doggy bag’

Panel interviews:

  1. Don’t focus on one panel member to the exclusion of all the others
  2. Don’t forget to greet each panel member individually
  3. Don’t forget to glance at each panel member while answering a question, after you’ve directed your opening remarks to the individual who posed the question
  4. Don’t forget to send thank you notes to each panel member
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