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Dumb Mistakes That Will Cost You the Job

February 24th, 2020

It is amazing how many perfectly fine candidates sabotage their chances at getting the job.

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Matthew Ross, co-owner of two e-commerce sites, tells of a time a candidate volunteered she had lied to her employer about having a medical condition so she could get more time off.

“I couldn’t believe that someone would admit to lying to their former boss to what could have been their new boss,” Ross told writer Annamarie Houlis. “Needless to say, we did not end up hiring the candidate for character concerns.”

Besides the fact she was dishonest, admitting that in an interview with a potential new employer should have been an obvious no-no. Yet, as the article makes clear, committing these interview errors is more common than you think.

One that no one should ever make is to show up for an interview unprepared. Thousands of career sites all say the same thing: Find out everything you can about the organization and the people you’ll be interviewing with. Even a cursory internet search is enough to give you the basics.

What’s surprising is that there are candidates who show up to an interview without doing even that much.

Kari Whaley, a Florida chamber of commerce CEO discovered an extreme example of this when interviewing a candidate for a marketing position. “The candidate began their response with saying they had not yet looked at our website or social media,” recalled Whaley, “and then continued by telling me they weren’t even sure what a Chamber of Commerce was.”

Career sites are replete with less dramatic examples of candidates who did only a cursory search, coming up with blank stares when the interviewer asked about recent company developments.

Houlis’ article has multiple examples of other interview mistakes that even a little preparation would prevent: Failing to make eye contact; speaking ill of a former employer or expressing too much negativity; discussing money.

There is one fail on the list that may not be as obvious, even to someone who has done their homework. That’s asking for the job. Seasoned sales people know not to walk away from a potential customer without asking for their business. The rest of us may not realize just how important that is.

As an interview comes to a close, always ask for the job. It’s not necessary to bluntly say, “I want this job.” If that feels too pushy, an alternative is to express excitement about the company and the position and declare your interest in the job. Be prepared in case the interviewer turns around and asks you why. If they do, take that as an opportunity to reinforce your strong points and the contribution you can make.

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