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Career Counselor
Ill-Advised Interview Tactics

April 2007 The job interview may be the most crucial stage in the hiring process. While your skills and qualifications play a significant role in landing a job, your performance in the interview also is critical to getting your foot in the door at a new employer. As such, the last thing you want to do is let a simple blunder get in the way of your success.

Here is a list of some of the most common interview mistakes to avoid. 

You arrive a few minutes late for the interview. When it comes to the job interview, excuses for tardiness are as acceptable as the proverbial "The dog ate my homework" explanation. If there was ever a time in your life to be early, this is it, even just to ensure you aren't late. Being on time shows the employer not only that you take the job seriously, but also that you are reliable.

You are unprepared. Before your interview, take a little time to research your prospective employer. Armed with knowledge about the company -- its background, history and goals, for instance -- you might gain valuable insight into the position for which you are applying and its relation to the rest of the organization. Additionally, being well informed impresses upon the interviewer your interest in the job and company and shows you have done your homework.

You respond to questions with simple ‘yes' or ‘no' answers. The interview is an opportunity to assert your qualifications beyond the items listed on your resume. The hiring manager will want to get a feel for your personality and interpersonal skills, and trying to get an answer out of you shouldn't be like pulling teeth. Along those same lines, you don't want to overdo it either. Avoid going off on tangents with your answers and don't pretend to know more than you do. If you aren't sure how to respond to a question, don't fake it. Instead, consider asking the interviewer to explain the question further. You can turn your lack of knowledge into a learning opportunity that reinforces your interest in the job and company.

You have no questions for the interviewer. Preparing your own set of questions is a great way to show off your knowledge about the company and further emphasize your interest in the position. However, avoid asking about such topics as salary, benefits, time off and bonuses. Wait until the company has begun to show serious interest in you before broaching these subjects.

How you perform in an interview speaks volumes about your professionalism. You only get one chance to make a first impression. By avoiding these pitfalls, you'll have an excellent chance of making it a good one.

ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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