A good friend called me last month to ask a favor. His son (I’ll call him Neil) was interviewing for his dream job—would I be willing to help him prepare for the interview? I spoke with Neil and invited him to come to my office for a mock interview.
Neil had obviously done his homework on the firm and was well-prepared for typical questions asked during an interview, as well as some curveballs. He gave a solid handshake and plenty of eye contact. Yet there were a couple of places in the interview where he fell short. When I pointed these out, Neil was both surprised and grateful for the feedback, saying that he would not have known he was committing these gaffes had we not met in person.
There’s an enormous amount of “how-to” information online about preparing for a job interview. Studying for hours online, however, doesn’t guarantee you’ll make a solid impression in person. Hiring managers quickly notice things that are in your blind spot. My meeting with Neil encouraged me to reach out to colleagues in the recruiting field to ask: What faux pas are candidates committing that don’t get as much air time, but should? Here’s our list of gaffes to avoid: