I have read so many wonderful and not so wonderful articles sharing strategies on how to earn that next job, but in all my years of being a job seeker and all my years of running our 4 search firms, I have not found an article that talked about the taboo topic of how to lose a job. If we could invest our energy on understanding what not to do, our interviews would find a much more successful path affording us endless opportunities to choose from. While I believe I could probably go on for 100 ways how to lose a job I will save that article for another time and share my top 10 ways with you. Here we go:
You should never talk negatively about your current or previous employer, boss(es) or colleagues. There is a tactful way in which to highlight the weaknesses of that employer or job, but just outright talking negatively will lead your interviewer to believe they could be next.
Do not allow yourself to come off as too comfortable or personal with your interviewer, even if they are pulling you there. It is equally as important to show some confidence, but you never want to appear overly confident nor alienate the person(s) you are interviewing with.
Tardiness is unacceptable. If you are going to be late or if there is even a chance, reaching out a few minutes before is just as bad as being late. Make sure you plan appropriately to ensure you are early and if that worst case scenario happens, go out of your way to ensure that you give adequate notice.
You should never show up empty handed to an interview. While your interviewer may have a copy of your resume it is very important that you always bring resumes as well as a pad and paper jotting down those important thoughts and notes.
Don’t show up not knowing the current news about an organization. You must show that you are passionate and excited about the company and did your research prior to walking in the door. How awful would it be to meet with the companies CEO and not know that they just resigned, or are being exited over the next two months. That would be a sure way to lose that job.
Be prepared to answer where you see yourself in 5 years and make sure its a response about your professional aspirations. The client is not asking this question to hear your personal aspirations (e.g., buying a house, or being in business for yourself). Worse then a personal answer to that question, make certain to steer clear from answering that question with, “I always like to keep my options open.” What employer would ever want to hire an employee whose mind is always open to elsewhere? Would you? Employers want committed employees who are focused and grounded on the business opportunity in front of them.
Be prepared to discuss and answer questions relating to your current job and how it is relevant to the job your interviewing for. It is important to look at the job spec provided by the client or your recruiter prior to your interview and write examples of how each bullet relates to your current and past experiences. This way you are not hesitant when answering questions will be confident and relevant to the interviewer.
This one is easy; don’t ask what the position pays in your first interview (period). We have watched so many great candidates lose amazing jobs, because they asked that question on the first interview.
An Interview is an opportunity for you to be interviewed, but also an opportunity for you to interview your perspective new employer. Come prepared with written and thoughtful questions. If that interview ends and you do not have or ask any questions, you shouldn’t expect to hear about next steps.
The Thank You
It is NOT a lost art. After you leave that interview, make it your priority to get a thank you note (hand written or via email) out to the person or persons you have interviewed with. Anything shy of that gratitude will leave you on the sidelines.