Interviews can be nerve-wracking – but even more so if you’re ill-prepared.
You might be fidgeting or, in that high-pressure environment, just easily distracted. These mannerisms, while seemingly harmless, can sometimes influence perceptions of your level of confidence and commitment to the application.
Even though we’re used to ourselves, we may not be aware of our own bad habits. You may have to consider things such as facial expressions and eye contact before going into an interview.
A good way of practising this is to conduct mock interviews with trusted friends or family. In a job interview, it’s crucial to exhibit confidence and catching certain little quirks beforehand is crucial.
Here are some bad habits you might want to avoid in a job interview.
Avoid showing up late to the interview.
In job interviews, time is of the essence. Showing up late just means you don’t value the position you’re applying for. Instead, you should allot an extra 30 minutes of leeway going into the interview in case emergencies and delays come up. If you’re really held back by unforeseen events, you should contact your recruiter ahead of the interview. They will most often be happy to reschedule your appointment at a later date.
Avoid interrupting the interviewer.
When recruiters and hiring managers conduct interviews, they know when a candidate is out of focus. Applicants who interrupt the interviewer before they finish asking a question not only appear impatient but also sound rude. This bad habit can make you come across as arrogant. Listen closely and let your interviewer finish the question first. Don’t rush in and ruin your chances of a good interview.
Avoid using fillers.
A common mistake that candidates make when being interviewed is that they excessively utter fillers such as “um”, “uh”, and “so yeah”. Some recruiters consider these to be red flags that seem to suggest a lack of preparation – even when you’re really just nervous. Remember to relax. Take your time and speak more slowly and naturally when the answer doesn’t come to you right away.
Also, practising your answers to common HR questions can help you to make a good impression. But when you find yourself at a loss for words, take a deep breath and be true to yourself.
Let’s face it: job interviews are an unnatural way of conversing. Just remember that it will only be for a short while and that you can keep things under control by having a relaxed demeanour all throughout. Fidgeting and swivelling your chair are red flags for your managers to assume you’re mentally unprepared.
Before heading for an interview, it may help for a candidate to avoid drinking coffee or any drink loaded with caffeine to avoid the triple whammy of stress, anxiety and caffeine-induced tremors making them shake during the conversation. Instead, get enough sleep the night before and have a light, healthy and energy-boosting breakfast.
During the interview, maintain good posture, hold your head high naturally and have good eye contact with the recruiter. Also remember to keep your feet flat on the floor to avoid putting on added pressure on your calf muscles. Without knowing it, some candidates tend to feel even more anxious when part of their body is strained during the interview.
Succinct but meaningful answers can help to facilitate a smoother conversation flow with recruiters. If you can, follow the STAR method for open-ended and behaviour-focused questions: identify a specific Situation-Task-Action-Result you had undertaken which exemplifies the right behaviour or attitude.
If the question asks you to provide more details about yourself, avoid adding impertinent facts and going off topic. No one needs to know about your late-night parties!
Job interviews offer employers a preview of the candidate’s capabilities. Making a good impression is important to establishing yourself especially when you’re meeting people for the first time. Follow our tips as you pursue that dream job.