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The subtle ways you're ruining an interview

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You have a killer resume`, a degree from a stand out university, perfectly prepared responses to interview questions, and maybe even a few really great jobs under your belt. But… while you make it to the interview round, you seem to be hitting a brick wall. You don’t get called back for the next round and it’s making you wonder is it something in the way that you’re answering questions?

Perhaps. However, there are a few simple things that you might be doing that make hiring companies cringe during the interviewing process, and you may not realize they have a negative impact. Have you:

- Said you were going to do one thing, but ended up doing something else? Or worse — not do it. For example, say you were going to follow up with the interviewer on Monday at 4 p.m. and forget to call until Tuesday? You might not think it’s a big deal because you did eventually call, right? Behaving in ways other than what you say you will do typically paints you in a negative light.

- Asked one too many personal or off-topic questions of the employer? Sure, you hear it all the time — strike a friendly rapport with your interviewer to set a positive tone. Many people talk about the weather or lighthearted events on the news. However, asking questions that cross the line into personal territory will likely creep the interviewer out just a little bit. Refrain from questions that ask about a person's family, marital or dating status, for example.

- Demonstrated qualities that suggest you might be a pain to work with? This would include showing you’re going to be THAT co-worker who always has to ‘one up’ his co-workers and have the last comment or an even better story than what was told. Or perhaps, the interviewer senses your high-maintenance self when you clarify that you want sparkling with a wedge of lemon and three ice cubes at the mere question of whether you’d like water?

- Used informal or slang language excessively during the interview? Replying to questions with answers stuffed with 'ummms', "like, yeah" and 'you know what I'm sayin?" don't speak well for your professional demeanor. Are you using 'supposably', 'misinterpretate', and other words that truly are not actual words in your dialogue with an interviewer? Companies are looking at you as a potential representative for their organization to clients, internal stakeholders, and others important to the business. It's helpful to mind the speech patterns with which you are most comfortable, and see if they convey the professional polish and confidence you need to have.

- A sloppy appearance? Think no one will notice you're wearing a shirt that should have been ironed? Or, that you didn't brush your teeth nor put on deodorant before coming into the office? While we're coached often about the content of our answers in an interview, we often overlook the little things like personal appearance. How you look from a visual presentation point of view contributes to your overall mission of being perceived as the right professional for the job. In most cases, that means looking, dressing, and smelling like the confident professional ready to represent the hiring company. Avoid things like wearing club wear or even a costume to an interview -- odds are, your chances to land the job will be at great risk.

Have you felt like you ruined an interview because of actions you might not have been aware of? Share your thoughts below.

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