- Created on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 16:16
- Written by Rebekah Piotrowicz
Imperial, California - Like any competition, beating others out for a dream job requires preparation. A successful interview takes more than an impressive resume and answering the interviewer's questions. All applicants will have the technical skills needed for the job; it will be little things that count and set people apart.
There are five ways candidates might blow chances at a dream job, says Purdue University etiquette expert Anthony Cawdron.
*Maintain your iPhone addiction
Employers expect you to focus on the task at hand; this also applies to your interview. Remember you are always being observed, and not just by your interviewer. "Be aware of your surroundings - any impression you leave with others is likely to be passed on to the interviewer," Cawdron says. So if you are one who has trouble putting the phone down for more than 10 minutes, it might be best to turn it off or leave it in the car.
*A lunch offer is an all-you-can-eat and drink buffet
It is always appropriate to accept a lunch offer along with an interview. However, don't abuse the offer. "Often when companies take a job candidate to lunch, they are looking to see how they would perform as a host to others. They want to know if you are able to take care of their clients," Cawdron says. If you let your guard down during this time, you might not be around for dessert. A drink at lunch is also risky. Not having a drink is like being overdressed; it will never count against you.
*Don't do your homework
Being unprepared can reflect poor research skills; it can also lead to some uncomfortable silences. Prepare talking points and questions for those "in between" moments. It will help everyone feel more comfortable and demonstrates that you are willing to invest the time to get to know the company.
*Let the interviewer take the driver's seat
An interview is typically seen as a one-way street: they ask the questions and you provide your best answer. Realistically, this also is an opportunity for you to interview the company. By asking questions, you show interest in the company and can better judge if the job and the environment are a good fit for you. Make conversation rather than having a question-and-answer session. You will feel more at ease and the interviewer will get a better sense of the kind of person you are and the skills you would bring to the company.
*Not saying thanks
Today, thank-you notes are a must. Handwrite a note to anyone you had a significant interaction with during the interview. This remains professional, while writing it by hand adds a personal touch that shows you appreciated their time. One thing to keep in mind is there is a limit to how much appreciation you should show. Don't take it too far. "I once heard a story of how someone sent a thank-you and flowers to the interviewer's house. Their strategy was inappropriate," Cawdron says. While intentions can be good, it is best to never be mistaken as a stalker.