First impressions are key.
When looking for your next opportunity and preparing for your interviews, there are a number of factors to consider and we can sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed as to how to make that pivotal first impression really count!
What NOT to do during your job search can be just as important as what you SHOULD be doing to secure your next dream job.
Mistake #1: A Sloppy Resume
Your resume is the ultimate first impression. This is what will make a recruiter or employer decide whether to call you or not.
Provide all the essential details such as title, workplace and correct dates of employment. Make sure that you have succinctly but effectively described your work history, so that you give yourself the best chance of securing an interview.
Mistake #2: Applying for roles which don’t match your skillset
If you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win, right? You might think, if I apply for every accounting vacancy and I’m sure to get a bite!
Consider that an HR team or recruitment consultant can refer to all their posted vacancies. If they have multiple roles open and you apply for the position of Accountant, Finance Manager and Credit Controller, they may question whether you have defined your goals and motivations in your job search.
Mistake #3: Dressing for Success
Even though you may not have a client/customer facing role, you still have to show your potential employer that you’re taking this opportunity seriously. You can put your best foot forward by ensuring that you come suited and booted for your interview, dressed to impress.
Mistake #4: Arriving late… or arriving too early
There’s no excuse for being late to your interview. Don’t blame the traffic or train delays, you have already made a negative impression. Similarly, don’t show up 40 minutes early. It’s inconvenient and puts your interviewer under pressure, not to keep you waiting.
Give yourself plenty of time to get there. If you arrive early take a walk or grab a coffee nearby (not a cigarette!). Arrive 5-10 minutes beforehand.
Mistake #5: Taking your coffee into the interview.
When a job seeker arrives at our office, with their coffee in their hand, they give the impression that this interview is another task on their list of errands for the day.
If you want a hiring manager to take you seriously, ditch the coffee before you get to the door.
Mistake #6: Being unprepared for your interview
“What’s your biggest strength?” “What were you responsible for in this role?” “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?”
These are some of the most common interview questions and you should come prepared to answer them.
Mistake #7: Not asking any questions.
When, at the end of the interview, the interviewee has no questions, it can give the impression that you are disinterested in the position.
Prepare 5 questions, the likelihood is that some of your questions will be answered throughout the interview, this way you will have some thoughtful and intelligent questions to ask to impress as you finish up your meeting.
Mistake #8: Thinking it’s all about the hard skills
People hire people. Chances are you’re not the only Accounts Payable Officer with a relevant skillset being considered for this position.
Be polite, friendly and make an effort to build rapport with the person interviewing you. Soft skills are often just as important to employers as technical skills and will give you the edge on the other job seekers with a similar skillset.
Mistake #9: Speaking negatively about your past employers
When a friend gossips about another friend you might be left wondering what they’ve said when you’re not around. Don’t leave your potential employer thinking the same at the end of your interview. If you had a bad experience in a past workplace, it’s OK to disclose this but try to speak about it constructively. Be positive throughout your interview and you’ll leave a positive impression.
Mistake #10: Appearing uninterested.
Don’t give your potential employer the impression that all you want is a job and any job at that! Payroll will be the same anywhere, right? No!
They want to know that you’re excited about their business and the opportunities they have to offer you. If you enjoyed the interview and meeting with them, TELL THEM! You’d be amazed how many employers are left wondering if their preferred candidate liked them too!