So you thought you had it in the bag? Black tailored suit that is freshly dry cleaned with a buttoned up, crisp white collared shirt. The picture of perfect at your standard financial services firm BUT your interview was at an advertising company for a Production Designer. The feedback: “Not the right culture fit” or “too buttoned up” or “too serious”. You’re always safe in a suit but make sure it’s the right suit. Don’t forget to research an organization thoroughly before your interview and make sure you are the right fit.
Here is a list of more “Don’ts” to keep in mind for your interview.
Don’t: Smoke a cigarette before your interview. This can be very distracting to smokers and non-smokers alike.
Don’t: Drink coffee right before your interview. Not just for coffee breath if you’re already nervous, you may get jittery.
Don’t: Wear tons of perfume or cologne. A little spritz will do. No one wants to choke on Drakkar.
Don’t: Be rude to anyone within 3 blocks of the building-NY is smaller than it seems. If you’re that close to an office, you could run into anyone on the staff so keep a smile on your face and hold the door for the person behind you.
Don’t: Mistreat the receptionist or security staff-These individuals already have positions with your potential employer. They will inform HR if you are unprofessional.
Don’t: Change your shoes in the reception area. This should be done in a private place. No one wants to see your feet.
Don’t: Take food or drink into the interview room/office. The interview is not your lunch time.
Don’t: Assume you have the job because it’s a final interview. Treat every interview like the first interview- have questions prepared, continue proper dress code and don’t get too friendly.
Don’t: Be late and fail to apologize. Even if you contacted your recruiter or the interviewer while you were on your way, be sure to apologize again for your lateness-Don’t harp on it but do apologize in person.
Don’t: Fail to send a thank you card. It’s a good idea to keep some pre-written cards with you and complete them before you exit the building. You can leave them in the mailbox as you exit the building.
Don’t: Fail to send different thank you cards to different interviewers at the same company. Most likely the people interviewing you sit together so they may notice that you have written the exact same note to everyone.
Don’t: Drink alcohol at a lunch interview. Just don’t do it.
Don’t: Focus on the 1-2 aspects of the role that you don’t have in your background. If they are meeting with you, then there is some interest. Don’t let the interviewer leave thinking about the things you are missing. Talk about the skills and experience that you have for the role.
Don’t: Lie about your skills. If you have never seen a program before, do your research and find out if you have worked on something similar. Unless you have the ability to be an advanced user of a program over night, just tell the truth.
Don’t: Stalk the HR staff on social media and show up with printed pages of their profiles. It’s great to do the research but bringing it with you will seem odd and invasive.