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Career Planning

Six Ways to Bomb an Interview

There are lots of ways to bomb an interview-- but it doesn't have to happen to you.

Jason Cotugno

April 21, 2009

Six Ways to Bomb an Interview

Are you intent on making a bad impression in a job or college admissions interview? Take a look at these six ways to get immediate rejection—and then read on for what our experts have to say about the right way to act.

1. Have no knowledge of yourself or the organization. Before walking in, make sure you have no idea about the organization or school you’re interviewing for. On top of that, don’t take the time to think about your skills and any experiences that demonstrate those skills. Leave that up to the interviewer to figure out!

Do: “The knowledge you’ve gained (about an organization) may turn out to be just what you need to demonstrate your preparation,” says Kathleen M. Martin, associate director of Rochester Institute of Technology Human Resources for Employment, Employee Relations & Professional Development. “Take a few days to write down your strongest skills and attributes.”

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2. Go to an interview empty-handed. Don’t feel like dragging your résumé or portfolio to an interview? No problem. Instead, rely on the interviewer to have copies of your résumé on hand. Plus, do you really want to waste time bringing in information that you’ve already sent them?

Do: “Bring copies of all documents to the interview in case the person interviewing can’t find the information you’ve already sent,” Martin says.

3. Walk in with an insincere attitude. If you really want to make a bad impression, try looking too interested or not interested enough in the company or school at which you’re applying.

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Do: A lack of sincerity is sure to give you a one-way ticket to the exit door. “Hiring managers want you to desire them, the job and their company wholeheartedly,” says Robert Meier, a career coach.

4. Lie or exaggerate. Whether on your résumé or in person, feel free to stretch the truth a little. After all, most organizations have a policy that falsification of information is grounds for immediate termination. Nothing like a record of termination for misconduct to start your life in the job world!

Do: “Speaking of the truth…tell it! There’s no second chance to make a first impression,” Martin says.

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5. Ask about money and benefits right away. Salary may be a big factor in helping decide what job you want, so why not ask during the first interview? Even though you haven’t been officially hired yet, your interviewer will surely take no offense.

Do: “Ask the money question at the right time, which is only when the interviewer raises the subject,” Meier says.

6. Forget about following up. Don’t worry about grabbing the interviewer’s business card or sending a thank-you note.

Do: Take the time to send a note to the interviewer to thank them for their time and express your continuing interest in the job and the organization. The key to the note is to take one thing away from the interview and refer to it positively in the letter.

Article reprinted with persmission from Next Step Magazine.

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