I’ve always found that prepping for a job interview is one of the scariest things you can do; not just in your career, but in your life as a whole. Give me a driving test over a job interview any day of the week!
Saying that, it’ll come as no surprise that I’ve had my fair share of bad job interviews. The pure stress that my mind associates them with are enough to put me off for life but thankfully, I’ve always asked for feedback on the reasoning when I get declined an offer so I can (hopefully) improve for the next.
Here are some of the worst - and most embarrassing - things I’ve done that’ve stopped me from getting jobs:
1. I didn’t research the company
You’ll probably relate to the dreaded question, “so, tell me what you know about our company” that comes towards the end of an interview.
Here’s a story that’ll make your stomach turn: I applied for a job and turned up to the interview just two days later and pretty much all I knew about the company was their name and a few of the services they did. Whilst this can be enough to throw back a cop-out answer, this company in particular wanted more - such as awards they’d won, the director’s name and when they were founded.
Looking back, I thought I did an excellent interview on the whole but as this example shows, not doing your research about the company can prove to be fatal. Essentially, it shows that you’re too lazy and don’t prepare for things thoroughly. Who would want to employ someone like that? (Hint: Obviously not this company.)
2. I didn’t proof-read my CV
It’s not since I became an actual freelance writer that I realised just how important proof-reading is. I (very naively) typed up my CV onto a Word doc and had away with it - spelling mistakes, and all.
What I should’ve done is used some form of resume builder to help the CV look more professional, and borrowed someone else’s eyes to spot the fact that I spelt ‘blogging’ with only one ‘g’. Duh.
3. I didn’t make eye contact
I’ve mentioned before on previous blogs that I’m a shy and introverted person, so making eye contact with a stranger can be awkward and uncomfortable for me (I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that!).
When I went for my first interview after being made redundant, I didn’t make eye contact at all. It wasn’t until the interviewer very kindly gave me some feedback and said that the fact I was trying to avoiding eye contact was super-obvious and made us both feel uncomfortable!
4. I didn't turn my phone off
If you want to make your stomach turn with embarrassment, here’s another thing that I did: I didn’t turn my phone off before the interview.
I know what you’re thinking… “Elise, that is such a rookie mistake!”; and yes, I agree.
This was by far the worst mistake I made and it made me unable to concentrate on actually answering the interviewer’s questions with the constant pinging and vibrations coming from my handbag.
Understandably, they were pretty annoyed (and couldn’t concentrate either), so it’s no surprise that I didn’t land the job.