You know the rules. Dress nicely. Be on time. Answer questions, but don’t speak too much. Never lie. Like I said, you know the rules of interviewing, the things that’ll automatically set you apart from the other candidates.
While that’s great and all, none of this will save you if you make an initial bad impression on the company. It turns out that you can indeed blow an interview before the interview even starts. We’ll explain how in today’s blog post, and give you tips on how to avoid these faux pas.
6 Ways to Blow the Tech Interview Before It Begins
1. Not following instructions
Just as in Kindergarten, you’re being judged on your ability to follow instructions. For example, when you’ve been granted an interview, a technical recruiter or HR person often emails you asking you to list three available times to meet. If you list one, your interviewers aren’t going to be impressed. It will signal that you can’t follow directions and that you don’t pay attention to details – not exactly traits people want in their employees. Make sure that you read emails carefully, and follow the directions to a T. Failure to do so will leave your interviewers with a bad impression before you even walk through the door.
2. Slow to respond
It’s a fast-paced world we’re living in, and your potential employer expects you to keep up. When you’re searching for a new tech gig, make sure that you’re routinely checking your email and voicemail. You don’t have to do it obsessively, but you should do it several times a day. If they call or email you and you don’t respond for 24+ hours they’re going to assume that you’re not all that interested in the role. Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers by accidentally seeming disinterested.
3. Answering the phone during inappropriate times
When you’re job searching and an unidentified number calls you, make sure that you’re in a good place to answer the call. If you’re in traffic, in a restaurant, or at the store, don’t pick up. Your distraction, in addition to the background noise, won’t make a good impression. You’re more likely to miss important details which may matter down the line. Wait until you’re in a quiet place where you can take notes and look at your calendar. Those setting up your interview won’t fault you for that.
4. Talking too much
When setting up your interview, it’s good to show that you’re enthusiastic about a role, but don’t overdo it. Don’t write a five-page email explaining just how excited you are about the interview, and certainly don’t complain about how long it took them to get back to you about this position. The same goes for the phone. Just don’t do it.
Excessive enthusiasm and complaining are off-putting for many people, and makes you a less appealing candidate. Be enthusiastic but reasonable, and don’t take up too much of your potential employer’s time while setting up the interview.
5. Asking inappropriate questions
In our experience, people often get cocky when they hear that they’re having an interview. They automatically start making assumptions, thinking that they’re the best person for the role. Don’t be that person. Don’t start making demands around your personal life – extended vacations, working off-core hours, etc. It seems presumptuous and no one likes working with someone like that. They’ll have a negative impression of you, one that’s hard to overcome, when you finally do face them in the interview.
6. Not taking interviewers’ time into account
During the interview process, you’re trying to impress your interviewers. One way to do that is respect their time. Don’t no-show, don’t reschedule several different times. They put a lot of time into re-arranging schedules to meet with you, and not showing up/rescheduling several times is disrespectful. Respecting their time will go a long way to making a good impression.
Any interaction you have with the hiring company is of vital importance, which is exactly why you need to think through every pre-interview interaction as well. If you are respectful of their time, follow their instructions and avoid speaking about inappropriate topics, you’ll be in the clear. You’ll be ready to enter the interview with a clean slate.
Have you ever blown an interview before it actually began? Tell us about it in the comments section, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.