Five interview missteps to avoid

Your goal at the job interview is to make a good impression, so don’t let a bad attitude put you on the wrong side of the interviewer.

Imagine that you’re trapped in a small room with a stranger. He’s a little too friendly, full of himself, and keeps going on about how great he is and all his professional accomplishments. You might be somewhat turned off. Well, potential employers feel the same way when it happens during a job interview.

Avoid these mistakes to avoid irritating recruiters and overshadowing your better qualities:

1. Being unfamiliar with the organization or the job
In today’s world, everything (just about!) can be found on the Internet. So read up on the company’s mission, its core activities and its history (when it was founded, recent mergers or acquisitions, etc.) before the interview. Also be sure to familiarize yourself with the job that’s been advertised. Do all this and you’ll come off as interested and well prepared.

2. Seeming blasé

Can’t work up any enthusiasm about the job? Don’t waste the recruiter’s time and your own. Just politely decline the interview.

3. Being overly familiar

Unless the recruiter sets the stage by creating an informal, friendly atmosphere, it’s better to err on the side of formality. Be polite and don’t call interviewers by their first names unless they do so first. Avoid cracking jokes or making personal comments.

4. Being obsessive or too fussy

Perfectionism and thoroughness are good qualities, unless they take over! Interviewers may be put off if you write down all of their questions before answering, correct their grammatical mistakes or keep asking questions about the company as they show you the door.

5. Arrogance

The best way to make a good impression on interviewers? Be friendly, pattern your behaviour on theirs and say positive things about the organization. Of course you have to sell yourself, but don’t focus too much on your accomplishments, success stories and good qualities. It can come off as egotistical.

Éveline Marcil-Denault is the author of Du CV à l’embauche [From Resumé to Hire] (Ed. Quebecor, 2005)