Featured image by Tim Gouw from Unsplash

Do you know that you only have seven seconds to make a positive impression on your recruiter? This is before you even get to the interview.

As a job seeker in the 21st century, the first challenge you have to tackle is to get shortlisted for a position. So when you get that opportunity, you want to ensure everything works in your favor. You might have had brilliant essay writers craft your resume, but you have to shine in the interview to secure the job. If you have an interview lined up in the near future, here are seven common mistakes students make. 

1. Not Doing Your Homework

If you thought your research skills would not be relevant outside college, now is the time you are proven wrong. Hiring managers often complain that candidates do not do sufficient research on the firm or the role they are applying for. They are looking for people who take initiative, and the best way to show this is to come sufficiently prepared for the meeting.

It reflects poorly if you are unaware of the image of the company, its products, or services. You do not have to be an expert, but you should at least have the necessary information that will help you maintain a conversation.

2. Being Late to the Interview

Your interview is not the place where you want to be fashionably late. It sends a message that you are not serious about the job, and lack respect for all the parties involved. If something unexpected comes your way, make sure you contact the HR manager and let them know of your circumstances. It will help to convey you are professional while you are putting your best effort to be there on time.

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3. Not Dressing for the Interview

If you are applying for a job in the corporate office, you do not want to show up wearing a wrinkled shirt and casual shoes. In simple terms, you have to dress for the role you are applying to.

The key here is to be conscious of the company culture. Be sure to browse the website and social media profiles for photos of the work environment. This should help you with an overall idea of the dress code and the ambiance. Regardless, always make sure your clothes are tidy, and that you look professional.

Interviews

4. Not Maintaining Positive Body Language 

It is not only your appearance that counts during an interview but also how you carry yourself. Even with the right responses to all questions, wrong body language can put off the entire interview.

Everything matters here, from a firm handshake, to your posture and sitting style. If you use hands naturally while talking, do not hold back during your interview either. Only make sure that the gestures aren’t too dominant. Most importantly, remember to make eye contact and stay confident in your responses.

5. Not Being Professional About Your Previous Work

If you start to badmouth your previous job or company, it is likely for the hiring manager to assume you will do the same in your next position as well. No matter how bad your experiences were, do not be cynical about it during the first meeting.

If you had some issues with your previous employer, you could mention it. However, you have to be diplomatic and professional in doing so. It would be better if you can phrase it in such a way that your previous role did not align with your career goals. This might not be the case for students. However, note the point if your internships are discussed during the interview.

6. Not Asking Questions During Interviews

To the hiring manager, no questions could easily translate to lack of interest. Obviously, whether you actually have questions will depend on what was covered in the interview. But it is never a bad idea to enquire for more details about the job. For instance, ask if the position is new. Maybe it opened because the previous employee left.

If you have different levels of interviews, save the questions regarding your salary, benefits, and vacation to the last one. It would be best to prepare a list of questions to ask before you get to the interview.

7. Not Asking About the Next Steps

If you are applying for your first job, it’s likely that you are overwhelmed during the process. You might not know how things work after the interview, or how you will be informed. Do not hesitate to ask these follow-up questions.

It is a good idea to ask your interviewer for their business card, which is an excellent way to gather their name and contact information. As you near the end of the meeting, ask what the next steps in the hiring process are.

Final Thoughts

Remember, an interview is not a one-way street, though it might appear so. You are not only there to sell yourself to the employer, but also to find out whether the workplace is a match for you. Your ultimate aim as a student might be to get a job, but also be sure to take note of how welcoming the place is, whether people are smiling at you, whether the space is too quiet or too loud. Such observations will tell you a lot about the job.

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