Fortune Magazine and CNN Money recently put together a list of the top 10 blunders, screw-ups, missteps and SNAFUs made by candidates at employment interviews. The currently high unemployment rate has made it even more difficult than usual to land a job with about six job seekers for every available position. In normal economic times, there are about 2-3 seekers for every offered job. The list below the fold, adapted from the Fortune magazine list, was compiled by hiring managers from companies across a wide range of industry sectors. These are the folks who see hundreds of candidates each week. They see all kinds of applicants; the good, the bad and the ugly. Take their advice if you’re currently seeking gainful employment.
10. Over-Explaining Why You Lost Your Last Job
You can briefly explain that your last position was eliminated or downsized but don’t go on and on about it. Focus instead on what you can do for this employer.
9. Demonstrating That You’re Not “Over It”
Hiring managers report that in some interviews, people act disgruntled, angry or sad. These emotions are to be expected after a layoff but they should be left outside of a job interview — or you may come off as unstable and communicate that you don’t grasp the business reasons for layoffs.
8. Lacking Personality, Humor or Warmth
Anxiety about interviewing may lead a candidate to focus too much on getting their talking points across. They may come off as one-dimensional during interviews. Remember to show qualities that can be an asset to the decision-making process, including humor in good taste, warmth, and understanding. Besides your qualifications, interviewers are also sizing you up to see what it would be like having you around the place every day.
7. Not Interested or Enthusiastic Enough
Companies want to hire people who are interested and engaged in the work and the industry. Don’t go overboard or you may seem desperate. But do demostrate that you’re interested and would be challenged by the work.
6. Insufficient Preparation – Research Your Potential Employer
It’s critical to be up to date with the latest company news, so be sure to Google the company ahead of your meeting. Have prepared well-informed, thoughtful questions about the company’s products or services and its future plans. Not knowing enough about the company really shows in an interview.
5. Too Much Emphasis on What You Want
Focus more on what the interviewer is saying. Listening carefully is crucial in steering the conversation toward how you would fit in and what you have to offer.
4. Trying to Be All Things to All People
“Allocate most of your time in the interview to discussion what you know you do well. Don’t try to “embellish” or oversell your actual qualifications. A good rule? Don’t apply for any job unless you have at least 75% of the stated qualifications.
3. Don’t Fake It. You won’t make it!
Many hiring managers report that candidates often aren’t ready to answer difficult questions. So practice. Prepare and rehearse a 90-second oral resume, and some responses to possible quesries, so that you come across as succinct.
2. Failing to Differentiate from the Field of Candidates
You have to make the most persuasive case possible for why you are the best person for the job. In particular, address what impact you can have on sales, profits, costs, or productivity within the next three to six months. Use quantifiable achievements from past positions to back up your performance promise.
And the No. 1 “whoopsie” that most job hunters make according to hiring managers?
1. Failing to Ask For the Job
If it has gone well and you are interested in the position, say so! Finish up the interview by recapping the assets you bring to the job, and ask for the opportunity to deliver results.