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The Importance Of Making A Great Impression On Interviews

Congrats!  After all of the hard work you put into perfecting your resume, cover letters, and job applications, you finally land an interview.  Now that your application materials and background have caught the attention of the hiring manager, it’s time for you to prove to them, in-person, why you are the best candidate for the job.  To do this, it’s important to avoid certain mistakes that can raise red flags.

In order to make a great impression on an interview, we’ve asked Katie Niekrash, Senior Managing Director at The Execu|Search Group, to explain some of the most common mistakes that candidates make, and how to avoid them:

Should candidates prepare a list of standard questions ahead of time that they plan to ask the interviewer?

Though asking questions is an important part of the interview, asking cookie cutter questions or questions about something that could easily be found online is a major interview mistake that can cost you the job.  Employers not only expect you to do some preliminary research on the company, but also want to see that you are engaged in the conversation and that you are a critical thinker.

Therefore, go in with some questions you’ve thought of ahead of time based specifically on the company and the role, but also make sure you’re truly listening to the interviewer because you should have some questions that are specific to the conversation.   For example, asking the interviewer to elaborate on a project they mentioned or challenge for the role they brought up, is a good way to show that you are engaged and interested in the role.

How does not preparing efficiently negatively affect your chances of receiving an offer?

Not preparing efficiently is another interview mistake that hiring managers will easily pick upon.  For example, reading directly from the materials you brought with you (resume, list of questions, etc.) can make you seem unprepared and lazy.  You should know your background well enough to be able to walk an interviewer through your professional and/or educational history and accomplishments without looking at a hard copy of your resume.  In the same vein, you should be able to articulately explain why you want to work at the company and why your background makes you an excellent fit for the role.  This is something you will also be able to accomplish through some preliminary research.

How can your body language impact the outcome of the interview?

Studies have shown that how you say something is actually more important than what you are saying.  As a result, not being aware of your body language or how you present yourself can be detrimental to your chances of receiving a job offer.  For example, some common body language mistakes that may make you appear disinterested include leaning away from the interviewer or crossing your arms in front of your chest.  In order to look more engaged and interested in the conversation, you should try to lean slightly towards the interviewer and keep your hands folded in your lap or on the table in front of you.  In the same respect, fidgeting is also something you want to avoid; it can distract the interviewer from what you are saying.

Why is it important to send a thank you note? 

Sending a thank you note to your interviewer is common courtesy and a sign of respect, and as a result should be taken seriously.  Not only is it imperative to send a thank you note, but candidates should also make sure the note is personalized, well-written, and without careless grammatical errors.  It could make all the difference between you and another candidate!

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