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Vassallo: Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid during a Job Interview

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With the University of Mississippi graduation upon us, many young adults will soon be heading into their first real-world job interviews.

Through the years, I have interviewed countless employment prospects as well as interviewed for positions myself. Throughout this lifelong process, I have observed and witnessed some bizarre things, and in my life, I have made most of these, but fortunately not all.

When interviewing for a position you hold dear, do not fall into one of these traps:

12. Bring a cell phone into the interview in the on position and answer it should it ring. Believe it or not, I have actually witnessed this fiasco. The mayor who was interviewing the prospect dismissed the candidate immediately following.

11. Dress as if you’re headed to the beach or out with friends. Candidates who wear flip flops and other casual dress are rarely taken seriously. Dress very professionally and always taking the extra step is a good mindset. Navy is always acceptable.

10. Be late! Show up 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled appointment. If a candidate cannot be on time for the initial interview, why should we expect him or her to show up routinely on time?

9. Bring a résumé that is multi-pages. A one-page résumé properly written and typeset is more than adequate. An interviewer does not have the time or interest to read a thesis.

8. Ask about vacation days and benefits right off the bat. Inquiring about days of vacation is not the best initial introduction.

7. Be unprepared as to what the business actually does. Knowledge is power! Research the company thoroughly, including how they operate and what the general outline of the company is and their goals. This added information should translate into actually asking intelligent questions.

6. Reflecting a passive attitude. Sit up straight, make direct eye contact and appear 110 percent interested at all times.

5. Showing concern about being able to meet the job requirements. If this is the case, you probably did not need to be in the room to start. Exceeding the job requirements is one of the keys for a successful conclusion to the interview.

4. Start looking at your watch as if you need to be somewhere else. This will be a direct sign to the interviewer that you are not truly interested.

3. Not anticipating the steps to follow. Rarely does a candidate receive the job offer during the interview, even should it go well. If asked to supply references, have a document on hand that reflects seven or more brief testimonials (again, one page). These can be from peers, former employers, public officials, teachers, business associates and a host of others. A three to four sentence testimonial coming from a reputable party is powerful.

2. Being overly rigid. If there is a possibility for travel or relocation, do not paint yourself into a corner by stating you never want to leave town. Flexibility is not a four-letter word.

1. Come across as you are the type personality who needs a direction manual to find the break room. Last but not least, convey to the interviewer that you are driven by competition, goal oriented and are a self-starter in every respect.

Interviewing is an art in itself. Practicing via video will provide you with a great tool to demonstrate how you might be perceived in the actual arena. Show confidence opposed to arrogance. Sincerity is easy to pick up on and is a trait that cannot be oversold! Good luck and have a great career!

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at (985) 852-7745.

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