“ I have attended so many interviews and it sometimes feels like from the moment I step into the room, the interviewer switches off, “says Judy Mwende.
It is not uncommon for an interviewee to feel like they are not really making a good impression on a recruiter. Sometimes, this is brought about by paranoia, but in some instances, it is the non- verbal cues that the interviewer gives off, that confirms that the interview is not going well.
According to Muthoni Ndegwa, a Client Service Manager at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading recruitment firm, recruiters usually judge you by how you present yourself. It could be how you dress, what you are carrying or just your body language.
During a job interview, you want to present yourself as a strong candidate who possesses the skills required to excel. However, just as it’s important to know what to say and do to make a great impression, it’s also essential to know what mannerisms and behaviors can hurt your chances of being chosen for the position.
Things to avoid during the interview
1. Arriving too early or too late
On the interview day, try as much as possible to arrive in a reasonable time frame to the venue. Apart from giving you ample time to prepare, it will actually score you points with the interviewer.
According to Ms. Ndegwa, nothing annoys a recruiter more than a candidate who has arrived hours late ad still insists on being interviewed. In most cases when this happens, the position has already been closed and a candidate chosen.
“If you arrive late for the interview, you will just be interviewed as a courtesy. In most cases, you are not even a consideration for the job,”she says.
Turning up to an interview late is a fairly well known offence, but turning up too early can be equally as inconvenient. 5 or 10 minutes early is good, but 15 minutes is annoying. By turning up too early, your interviewer has to come and greet you, offer you a drink and interrupt whatever they were doing, which will not go down well.
2. Talking too much
This normally happens when you are either too nervous or you did not prepare enough for the interview. Most candidates end up using too many words to cover up for their inadequacy in the interview room.
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However, what they do not know is that most recruiters hate it when a candidate does this. It is because it wastes the recruiter’s time (in most cases, they have a lot of candidates to interview) and it makes them switch off as most of the things being said are irrelevant to the interview.
If you want your interview to go well, keep your answers brief and to the point and try to control whatever nervousness you may be feeling.
3. Speaking ill of a former employer
This is a complete no-no in any interview that you attend. It is okay to have an opinion about your former employer, but you should be very careful not to share anything negative about them to a recruiter.
The interviewer will interpret your negative response as the answer you might give when asked about a manager at the interviewing company. It’s also a test of your ability to respond appropriately to sticky questions. Your interviewer and prospective employers will side with your former manager, and view you as difficult to deal with.
The interviewer will immediately think that you have a negative reception to authority and this will make them very reluctant to hire you.
In order to appear professional, no matter how much you dislike a former boss, try and put in a good word, or in a case where you feel that you cannot, you may opt to avoid bringing up this subject altogether.
Ms Ndegwa’s advice to candidates is to take care of how they present themselves, and prepare thoroughly for the interview by sharpening their communication skills and working on their posture.
The importance of taking the time to properly prepare for job interviews cannot be stressed enough. Conduct research on the company, dress to impress and ask well-informed questions. The more effort you put into the interview, the better impression you’ll make.
Wishing you all the best as you prepare for your next interview.
Sera is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. If you have any career related queries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org