Though a solid resume is the first way to get your foot in the door at a new company, ultimately, you'll have to survive the interview process if you want a shot at getting hired. And while having the right experience is an essential piece of the puzzle, knowing which mistakes to avoid during a job interview can also increase your chances of success. With that in mind, here are five things you should make sure not to do.
1. Show up unkempt
It doesn't matter if you're applying to work at a large corporation or a small start-up with three other workers in their 20s. When you arrive for an interview, you're expected to look professional, regardless of how casual an environment you might ultimately be entering. This means, at the very least, putting on a pair of business slacks and a collared shirt. Even better, invest in a business suit, along with a matching pair of shoes, and make sure to do an appropriate amount of personal grooming before meeting with prospective employers. If you give the impression that you care about your appearance, it's bound to work in your favor.
2. Fail to do your research
Though you don't necessarily have to memorize pages of stats, not reading up on the company and industry you're applying to will only come back to bite you. With the advent of Google, there's really no excuse not to uncover some basic information that will help you come across as well-informed. Showing up unprepared to an interview sends the message that you don't care all that much about the job, and that's the last impression you want to give.
3. Forget your own resume
Not only should you always bring copies of your resume to each interview you attend, but you should also make sure you've memorized that document's contents. This way, when a question comes up, you'll know just how to answer it, and you'll be less likely to get caught off-guard. Furthermore, since your resume is a mere snapshot of your employment history, you'd be wise to take note of the details you didn't have room to include on that piece of paper, and incorporate them during your discussion as appropriate.
4. Shy away from asking questions
The point of a job interview isn't just for a potential employer to see if you're the perfect hire; it's also to give you a sense of whether you actually want to work at a particular company. If you don't ask questions during an interview, you'll not only come off as disinterested, but you'll also lose out on a valuable opportunity to determine whether the job you're looking at is really a good fit. Since it can be tricky to come up with questions on the spot, jot some down before your interview so that you have a few at the ready.
5. Talk money without being asked
When it comes to employer-employee relationships, there's perhaps no topic more sensitive than money. And while it's natural to want to know what the job you're applying for is paying, an interview (or at least an initial one) isn't the time to bring that point up. Now if you're asked to review your salary requirements, that's a totally different story, in which case you're free to not only answer the question (ideally, with a salary range, so you're not locking yourself into a single figure), but tell your interviewer you hope your response is in line with what the company is thinking. Your interviewer may or may not answer, but since he or she brought it up, it's OK to engage in money talk. Otherwise, wait for your prospective employer to broach the topic.
No matter what sort of job you're applying for, there's pretty much no getting around the interview process. Knowing what pitfalls to avoid can increase your chances of landing your dream job and advancing your career.