We’ve guided thousands of top candidates on how to navigate up their own corporate ladders (a moving up strategy) or how to move over into a new company when that feels like your best option. Either way, many have voiced fear of the interview logistics themselves. It’s not always a lack of confidence in your capabilities that sparks the sweaty palms…a lack of readiness can sink a ship.

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. “

While you’re happily celebrating the fact that you’ve open a door wide enough to gain interest and an interview, that’s no time to take your foot off of the pedal. Interview success and landing the RIGHT job, with the right-fit team, requires preparation and flawless execution. This is no time for rookie mistakes!

Remember, you’ll have to stay flexible and adapt as you may move from video to in-person interviews (or the opposite) as the pandemic progresses. 

Here’s what NOT to do if you’d like to make a great impression and land in your dream job:

  • Forget to reconfirm the day before if it’s a zoom/video, phone, in-person or other interview mode.  With things changing so rapidly, always ask when scheduling and then RECONFIRM the day prior.  We’ve seen too many logistical issues with covid ruining the intended building openings, suddenly impacting who is available in or out of the office space, etc. 
  • Arrive late or unprepared for transit mishaps.  Map out the travel and plan to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled meeting. Anticipate traffic, construction, parking issues, corporate campus shuttle timing, or mass transit delays. Flights have cancelled by the thousands due to labor shortages, so plan to arrive a day early if you must travel to your out-of-town interview destination. Many building have rerouted their entrances and require health screenings/temperature-taking and registration before you can move past the lobby.
  • Underestimate the dress code. You’ll want to dress to impress, whether on video or meeting in person. We’ve seen many on-air mishaps with folks who only dress their top half for the screen, yet somehow the camera has caught them “off guard” in their PJs or boxers (or worse), so fully prepare. (Remember, poor Will Reeves got caught in his boxers when he stood up during an a WABC-TV on-air interview). If your potential new company has a more formal business dress code and asks you into the office, you may opt to wear comfortable shoes or sneakers for the commute into the building and subtly change into your work shoes in the restroom before approaching the office.
  • Bring 3-5 printed copies of your resume and cover letter. Even though you’ve sent both electronically, the interviewer may have invited others who prefer to jot notes on a paper copy.  Always bring a clean notepad, pens, etc to take notes as well.
  • Don’t share proprietary info. Ever.  Never send over any document or image that belongs to your current or former employer. Only speak to your specific success or prior company’s work with enough detail to show you’re legitimately involved while respecting confidentiality.
  • Take credit for other’s work or fail to highlight your own impact. Speak to your specific contribution, then the collective team’s win. 
  • Fake it. It’s always better to say “ I don’t know, but I’d be happy to circle back to you with more information” or some other similar way to answer candidly. When possible, include a reasonable next action step then follow up on it.
  • Forget to ask poignant questions. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as the company is hoping that you’ll be the right culture fit. These people will become a part of your future work family, so don’t forget to have done research on the folks who’ll participate in the interviews and be prepared to ask them relevant questions.

    If we’ve missed some interview mistakes that you’ve learned the hard way (either as the candidate or hiring manager), please feel free to comment so others can learn from your experience, too.