The interview is one of the most decisive steps in the job-hunting process. If you ace the interview, your chances of getting the job undoubtedly increase. But in order to secure your shot at an interview, it’s not enough that you’ve done well in the exams and presented an impressive resume. JobStreet.com shares three pre-interview pitfalls you need to look out for so you can improve your chances at an actual interview:
Boo-boo #1: A dirty online presence
These days, it is common HR practice to conduct an online “reputation check” with their applicants before they invite them for interviews. So, to be on the safe side, clean your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts by removing all negative material – posts, blog entries, and especially compromising pictures. And by “negative,” we mean anything
- a) Derogatory towards another person, group, or entity;
- b) With double meaning;
- c) Sexual or sexually suggestive.
We are suggesting you delete these materials and not just change your privacy settings because social media security settings these days are not safe bets. What you may have tagged as “private” may still be searchable by more savvy users, including your potential employers.
After scrubbing your social media accounts clean, it’s time to expand to the entire World Wide Web. Run a search of yourself in various search engines. In other words, Google (or Bing) yourself. You may have cleaned your social media accounts of defamatory material, but there might be blogs, websites, and social media material of other people that put you in a bad light. If there are, find ways to take them down. Reach out and talk to the people who have posted these negative comments. Not only will you clean your online reputation, you may even get the chance to mend broken relationships and settle old scores.
Boo-boo #2: Rudeness to the office staff
You might have given the stink eye to the security guard, the cold shoulder to the janitor, rolled your eyes at the receptionist, and even yawned aloud when the test administrator gave boring instructions. But once someone who looks like a manager or supervisor appears, you’re all friendly and charming, flashing that winning smile you’ve been practicing in front of the mirror for months. It may be too late, though.
Warning: Offices have CCTV cameras that record your body language the moment you step inside the building. It’s also not rare for interviewer to ask everyone, from the security guard to the receptionist, on how you behaved during the initial stages of your application. Step up your game the moment you enter the building and don’t spare anyone from noticing your irresistible charms.
Boo-boo #3: Arriving late at any step of your application
Nothing can spoil a job hunt more than a candidate arriving late. Here’s why:
1) You are applying for a job, not attending a party.
Only socialites and celebrities can get away with being late. So, unless you are applying to be Paris Hilton’s next BFF, be on time.
2) Assuming that tardiness is okay because you got away with it in the past is dangerous.
Two misconceptions come to mind with this: (a) “We’re all on Fili[pino time anyway.” (b) “I usually wait for half an hour befire the HR sees me.” These perceptions are mostly generalizations that can cost you a successful job application if you’re too stubborn to hold on to them. One, not all Filipino companies practice Filipino time, i.e, starting late. Two, not all companies make applicants wait.
3) The excuses you’ll end up using are lame and will only show your weaknesses.
Excuses like “I got lost,” “I got stuck in traffic,” and “The building elevator got stuck,” among others, have been used countless times. Also, they show your lack of planning and preparedness. Avoid having to use these excuses by giving yourself, at the very least, a thirty-minute allowance. So, for example, if it takes you an hour to get from your place to the office, leave home an hour and a half before your scheduled time.
The bottom line is, being late is a big no-no. You wouldn’t have time to collect and compose yourself, so you may be sweaty, uncomfortable, and flushed during the test or activity. You may have to deal with irritated HR personnel who had to wait for you. Worst of all, the HR may have already crossed you off the list of candidates for being late.
By avoiding these boo-boos, not only will your strengthen your chances of getting the job interview, you will actually see yourself improve as a person.