1. Being late to an interview
It doesn’t matter how many people will tell you differently, unless you had an accident or something, being late to an interview will definitely not make a good impression and will automatically place you to the bottom of the list. First it gives the impression that you are not organized enough to respect a set schedule. Second, but more important, it makes the interviewer feel that you do not care about their time and this can even get them angry.
I consider this a self sabotage because in most cases it is all about organising your time. If you care about the interview take the day off from work, take the kids early to school and make sure you have a good margin to prevent any public transport delay or car breakdown. The reasonable time to be there is about 15 minutes before the hour of your interview or, in any case, at least a few minutes before the time you were instructed to arrive. Should you be there too early, just spend that bit of time in the café across the street getting into right mindset for your interview.
But, if it ever happens to you to arrive late to an interview make sure you properly apologise to the panel. You do not provide the reason for your delay, any one you would give might get you judged upon. Just make sure you connect with your interviewers, smile, lean forward a bit, apologise in a warm voice and then pass to a compliment or a slight (appropriate) joke that will open them up to you. Immediately after this, if you can, switch to things that put you a good light like things that you do very well or some other impressive part of your resume. You’ll have to do a bit more effort to wrap them up warmly but it is not impossible.
2. Being arrogant
Arrogance is a sure way to make the interviewers ditch you in an interview. Nobody likes to be patronised. The people across the table are your hypothetical coworkers and/or managers. Would you like to work with someone who already in an interview gives the clear image that they feel superior to any human being on Earth? You can already imagine slaving away because of this person and being sided from all interesting files because of them. You would definitely not vote in favor of an arrogant interviewee so don’t fall into this trap. Modesty on the side of a competent person is very appealing so learn how to be humble while still making a good case for yourself. The key here is to talk more about the facts than about you. Don’t say I was the best in my class, but say I graduated with honors. Don’t say “I am a well prepared, smart individual” but say “my previous boss thought I am a reliable and well prepared member of the team, here is his letter of recommendation”.
And if you are overqualified for the job and you only applied because you needed to extra pay while looking for something bigger, it goes without saying that this reason should be kept for yourself. The very fact that you were forced to apply for a lesser job than what you want should make you humble enough. You are just taking the opportunity to discover a different side of the profession or a different profession altogether, as in settling down for a while, because all these small parts of our life makes us who we are. You are not afraid to take on a job below your qualifications and you are not looking to fill a spot for only a couple of months but to gain a completely new experience that will do you good later in your career because it will teach you about hardship, discipline and humanity. How about that for a reason?
3. Applying to any vacancy
There is a category of interviewees that apply to any job they find, in almost any field they find just because they are that desperate. As desperate as you might be for a job, stay away from this especially if you are aiming at the same organisation. Sooner or later they will realise it and you will have lost any chance you had at getting a job. Stick to what you do best and mostly apply to jobs in that field, you will be much better off.
To be continued …