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Job Interview

Searching for a job always comes with a certain amount of stress and uncertainty. Whether unemployment rates are high or relatively low, you are competing with millions of unemployed people looking for their next job. Fierce competition means every interaction with a hiring manager or recruiter has to be perfect. Missteps can cost you the job.

Employers are choosy and they have the right to be—the success of their company depends on hiring the right candidate. Finding employees with the proper education, training and experience is difficult, even when so many people are actively looking for work. While employers are eager to find good people, they aren’t willing to settle for less than a great hire.

If you’re blundering your way through your job search, expect lackluster results. Here’s a list of “blunders” to avoid during your search.

  • Submitting a lackluster résumé. Many jobseekers struggle with crafting a compelling résumé that will appeal to hiring managers and recruiters. If you’re one of them, check out our Candidate Resource Hub for tips on how to create a resume that resonates with hiring managers, ways to customize your résumé for a particular job, and how to make it visually appealing.

  • Not quantifying your skills. Instead of simply listing your skills, describe the tangible ways you made a positive difference in your last position. Develop a list of your major accomplishments for each job or temporary assignment of your career—placing the most emphasis on your recent achievements. Recruiters spend an overwhelming amount of their time looking at your two most recent positions, not a job you held 10 years ago. Highlight the challenges and issues you faced, along with the steps you took to resolve them. Finally, quantify how your actions benefited the company. Companies value workers who help enhance productivity and profits or save time and money.

  • Not doing research. It’s hard to imagine that some job seekers actually go to an interview without being prepared. Researching the company beforehand significantly increase your chances of success. It will also save you potential embarrassment. During an interview, it is inevitable that you will be asked challenging questions designed to determine whether you are well-informed, demonstrate initiative and are thorough. At the very least, review the company website to gain insights into its business core business, its current initiatives, mission statement, and day-to-day operations. Check its Twitter feed and Facebook posts for insights about its culture. Conduct an Internet search to find articles that may have been written about the company or its leaders. You won’t regret being well-prepared for an interview.

  • Arriving late. This is one of the biggest blunders you can make. Interviewers will view it as a sign of your disorganization and disrespect. Needless to say, don’t expect a call back if you are late.

  • Badmouthing past employers or co-workers. Most employers feel this way: Anyone who badmouths a past employer will most likely badmouth us one day. No hiring manager or recruiter wants that kind of divisive or polarizing energy in the workplace. If you think you may be asked why you left your last job, think of several positive aspects of your position or boss that you can discuss.

Above all, you want potential employers to remember you for your strengths—whether it’s your great experience, critical thinking abilities, leadership skills, frugal innovation or another great quality. Don’t make it easy to dismiss all your good qualities by making a careless and preventable blunder. Carefully consider the best ways to sell yourself and your abilities. When you can do that with confidence, you greatly increase your chances of being offered the job you really want.

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