Ace Your Interview Part 3: 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid

Ace Your Interview Part 2: I HATE interviewing – how do I get through it?
March 1, 2021

Ace Your Interview Part 3: 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid

Making a big mistake in your interview is definitely not a lesson you want to learn the hard way. You didn’t make it this far just to sabotage yourself! As experts in the staffing industry, we have seen it all when it comes to interviews: the good, the face palm, and the left speechless. Don’t become a failed interview story! Instead, avoid these 7 interview blunders we’ve seen firsthand, and ace that thing!

Tip 1: Ditch the Phone

Checking your phone, not silencing it, or looking at your watch = big mistake. It seems like an obvious suggestion, but you wouldn’t believe how often this is done. It is so TEMPTING to look down at your watch when it buzzes. Reasons your phone might make noise:

  • Text messages
  • App notifications
  • Alarms

Even if you don’t check it, it’s still a huge distraction and can hinder your concentration and ability to ace answering questions. Use the airplane mode or do not disturb setting to curb notifications. No self-discipline? Better leave it in the car.

Tip 2: Be Prepared

So many people neglect to check the very basics of the company website. This seems like a no-brainer, but it often gets pushed aside for life’s other demands. Before you know it the interview day is here and it’s still undone. If you want to land the job, you HAVE to dedicate some time to research the company beforehand. We recommend that you:

  • Pull up the company website and read the “About Us” and “Press Release” sections of the site.
  • Do a quick search to see if they’ve been in the news lately.
  • Check to see what other jobs they are hiring for so you can get a bigger picture of changes that may be happening in the company.

Tip 3: Spit It Out

Do not walk into your interview chewing gum or tucking a mint in your cheek. We know you want fresh breath, but, please, spit it out. Having gum or mints in your mouth can really mess with the enunciation of your words. Also, they will both increase your spit production. (No really, we don’t want you drooling while answering a question!)

Use these tips to avoid bath breath before your interview:

  • Floss and use mouth wash during your teeth brushing routine.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that give you bad breath (yes you may need to forgo coffee for the morning!).
  • Sip water before the interview to avoid dry mouth.
  • Chew gum or mint beforehand and spit it out before leaving your vehicle.

Tip 4: Stay Focused

Nothing can tank an interview faster than going off on tangents. This one is tough, especially if you are a storyteller. Practice answering questions and staying on point. If you have examples for common questions prepared ahead of time you’ll be more likely to answer them thoroughly.

Whether you find yourself off-track because you started on a never-ending story or your nerves are getting the best of you, try repeating their question back to them to get yourself back on track. For example, “So to answer your question of __________, I __________” then answer it already!

Tip 5: Dress Up

We hate to say it, but not dressing appropriately is a bad idea. First impressions are a one-and-done deal! Expert interviewees know to dress for the position they want. Every profession and every company has a different expectation for their employees. Know what it is before your go.

If you need to buy new clothes, make sure to buy outfits you can re-use and wear to work once you get the job. Men should wear a button-down dress shirt and tie. To ensure your shoes are “dressy” enough, a rule of thumb is to wear shoes that require polishing (and make sure they are polished!). Women need to wear close-toed shoes. Your nice, re-useable outfit could be tailored pants and a long-sleeved button-down shirt. For more clothing ideas for all kinds of jobs, read these tips.

Tip 6: Be Punctual

If you were stuck in morning traffic or underestimated your drive time, arriving late could be a red flag to your interviewer. Before your interview, do a test drive of your commute so you can know what kind of traffic to expect at that particular time of day. It might even be helpful to scope out the parking options and entrance of your interview location. Knowing exactly where to go on your interview day will help calm your nerves. Try it – we think you’ll like the results!

If something crazy happens and you are going to be late, keep their number in your cell phone so you can call and give them a heads up. Sometimes the unexpected happens, so make sure you have a plan!

Tip 7: No Smoking

We know you’re nervous but smoking before an interview will not help you in the long run. Even with your best efforts to avoid smelling like smoke, someone with a sensitive nose will detect it. This could especially be a problem if your interviewer has an allergy. Trying to mask the smell with perfume or cologne only exacerbates the problem.

If you think you can smoke quick and cover up the smell, trust us when we say that you can’t. At all. Especially to non-smokers. The smell of cigarette smoke AND strong perfume is very overwhelming while in a small interview room. It’s best to just not smoke at all before your interview.

Looking for a New Opportunity?

Here at Westphal Staffing, it is part of our culture to make connections, recognize humans as individuals, and collaborate with professionals. Start by looking at job openings listed with Westphal Staffing. For a personalized consultation, contact us today to speak with a recruitment specialist. We’ll talk about your skillsets, what you’re looking for, and any opportunities that might be a good fit for you. We want to help you find a job YOU want – a job that clicks™!