The perception of the personality you project during the short period of an interview goes a long way in determining your success or failure at that interview. If you express some trails or thoughts that suggest your unsuitability for the job, you may not have the opportunity of correcting that impression after interviewers might have recorded marks for you. It is therefore better to avoid some negative traits or impression which may reduce your chances of being selected.
Let’s look at those Negative traits:
1. Never Go Late For An Interview: For whatever reason, its advisable to avoid getting to the interview late. It does not portray you as a serious and organised candidate. You should organise your schedule such that you arrive at the venue not less than 30 minutes before the commencement of the interview.
Apart from the interviewers impression, you should avoid putting your nerves under pressure by arriving late for the interview. Arriving early ensures that you’re mentally and psychologically relaxed before the start of the interview. Apparently, you’re likely to project a better image of yourself under this condition.
2. Avoiding Projecting Negative Self Image: Some candidates try to evoke sympathy for themselves by projecting negative self-image. “I am the first born in a family of ten.” “My father and mother are dead.” “I am the only one responsible for providing for my younger ones.” It is the belief of such candidates that this kind of information should move the interviewers to select them for the job.
This approach is not likely to help candidates applying for professional or career positions. The interviewers may be sympathetic, but selection criteria are not likely to be best because of such sentimental stories. The fact is, the organisation is interested in candidates who are able and willing to provide solutions to some of their problems. It is better for candidates to arm themselves with facts and figures that will show that they can be of benefit to the organisation. This approach has always worked!
3. Never Give False Information: Even though you’re not supposed to give negative information about yourself, giving false information is even more dangerous. Unknown to you, some facts may be checked. Also the new information you have may be contradictory to what you sent earlier in your curriculum vitae.
As soon as it becomes apparent that a candidate is presenting contradictory information, the interviewers become weary of such candidate. Trust is very important in employer-employee relationship. If there is any doubt as to the trustworthiness of a candidate, his chances of being selected becomes very low. This is irrespective of how good the candidate’s performance have been. Truth is consistent and easy to remember, it makes your chances better.
4. Do Not Project Idle Impression Of Yourself: A very common interview question is: What have you been engaged in since you graduated Bleep years ago? Some candidates respond to this question as thus, “NOTHING” or “I’ve not been able to get anywhere to work.” Hoping that this answer may enhance their chances of being selected. Unfortunately, this often brings about the exact opposite effect.
Let’s look at it this way. Suppose you went to grocery store and you saw a particular brand of soap covered with dust and worn out packaging resulting from long standing on the shelf. Chances are that you would avoid buying such product.
Same thing goes for employers. They want candidates that are hard working and full of initiatives. Even if you’ve not been employed since graduation, you should be able to mention tangible progressive activities that has kept you busy. If you’re currently employed, you should make it clear that you have a busy schedule. You should both agree on a convenient date and time for subsequent interviews if necessary. Creating an impression of idleness does not only reduce your chances of selection, it cheapens you and strengthens your employer when it comes to negotiation.
5. Do Not Project “No Choice” Or Desperate Impression: Its not advisable to present yourself as a desperate candidate without another choice apart from the interview you’re undergoing. This kind of attitude cheapens you and may even irritate some employers. The fact is that “you always have a choice”.
If you don’t get this job, you’re likely to get a better one later. You should therefore carry yourself with grace and respect. It should be clear to you by now that you’re not a beggar. You have some skills and ability to provide solutions to problems in specific areas of the organisation. Both parties therefore have something to benefit if the relationship is consummated.
6. Avoid Presenting Contradictory Goals of Interest: Consider the following responses in an interview in which a consulting firm is considering some experienced graduates to join its management team. The candidates are asked this question. “What is your plan in the next five years from now?
Three of the candidates gave the following responses…
Candidate 1. “My goal is to become a university lecturer, but pending my postgraduate admission, I want to get a job that will help me survive.
Candidate 2. “My ultimate goal is to end up as an animal farmer, I love farming, but right now, I intend to gather some money to get settled in lagos.
Candidate 3. “I intend to end up as an American citizen, but I need money for the processing of my documents.
The response of these candidates have shown that they do not have the long term interest of the organisation in focus. They’re simply using their employment as a stepping stone to achieve their own selfish goal. Most employers would not select such candidates however good their performance may have been.
In as much as it isn’t good for you to tell lies about your future plans, you should have the organisation in focus when responding to questions of this nature. Since all of those wishes are still in future, a lot of factors may still change the actual goals you have. You should therefore not allow unrealistic dreams to affect your present opportunity to develop a career.
7. Avoid Arguments: In as much as you can disagree with some opinions of the interviewers and express your own independent opinion, it is not advisable to engage in any form of argument for whatever reason. Arguments build up tension and put the two parties under pressure. Each person’s ego is at stake. And there may not be any change of opinion from either party irrespective of who wins the argument.
You may succeed in winning the argument, but eventually loose the job opportunity. This is because, if the personal egos of some of the interviewers have been hurt in the process of argument, they may go to any length to ensure that you do not get the job.
The rule of the thumb is: “accept the interviewer’s opinion, acknowledge the fact that it may be valid, then express your own opinion giving reasons why you take that position.’
8. Never Loose Your Temper, No Matter The Pressure: Some questions are sometimes designed to watch how you would react under pressure or how you can manage your temper. There was this story of a Nigerian studying for his masters degree in the UK. He graduated with a first class degree from ABU in Nigeria. He was invited for a very lucrative international job interview which would require good interpersonal relationship skills.
The interviewers put his temper to test by asking him this question: “We understand that ABU is one of the mushroom colleges in Nigeria. Is that true? The candidate was so angry and gave his response: “Whoever told you that must be very silly. And for you to believe such trash only shows how daft you really are. In fact, I’m not supposed to be talking to empty heads like you people. Good bye!
9. Never Portray Negative Impression About Your Former/Current Employer: A common interview question is: “Why do you want to leave your current Job?” In answering this kind of question it is not advisable for prospective employees to portray their current employers negatively. When you portray a bad impression of your current employer, you’re sending a signal of disloyalty to your interviewers. The implication of this is that you may say worse things about their company in future when you’re leaving.
Also, you would have succeeded in exposing the fact that you’re under pressure to leave your current job. Which means your negotiation power is relatively low.
Finally, any of your interviewers may have vested interest in your current organisation. Therefore, you may loose the opportunity for the new job, and set yourself on fire in your current job!
Therefore, its better for you to concentrate more on why you want the new job, than why you want to leave the current one. That way you’ll always be on the positive side.
Source May 2000 edition of Success Digest magazine