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Interviewing for your first job? Avoid these mistakes

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the interview stage! But the selection is far from over. While clearing the first hurdle is definitely a commendable feat for a graduate jobseeker such as yourself, it is at the interview where things begin to hot up.

There are many tips on what you should do to ace job interviews, but understanding what you shouldn’t do is equally critical. After all, a single blooper has the potential to cost you the job. Since you’ve had little or no exposure to the professional world as a first time-jobseeker, it’s hard to know which behaviours could stack up against you. That’s where Monster’s My First Job Survey for employers comes in handy. The results offer valuable insights into what irks interviewers and shrinks your chances of getting the job.

Take a look at the list of interview mistakes below, and read on to learn more about the best ways to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Candidates don’t know enough about the company

A large section of surveyed employers (30%) believed that graduate jobseekers don’t know enough about the company when they come in for an interview. Not being able to answer the question, “Why do you want to work with us?” could shave off many points from your interview score and likely cost you the job even though your other answers may be on the mark.

Fortunately, it’s not so hard to address the problem. Start your research with the company website and move on to social media and news, and try and link that information back with your career objectives.

Mistake #2: Focusing too much on salary 

Along with skipping company research, an equal number of employers (30%) are put off by candidates who focus too much on salary. An excessive focus on your pay package could portray you as someone who is more interested in the rewards of the job rather than the learning experience.
In any case, entering into a salary discussion should be a carefully considered decision at this stage of your career. Find a more detailed discussion on how and when to negotiate your first salary here.

As part of the #MyFirstJob campaign we spoke to Mandeep Baweja, MD, CPA Global – India and asked for his advice on what not to do in a job interview.

Here’s what he had to say:

Mistake #3: Showing off/ being overconfident

A smaller number of employers (15%) cited showing off or being overconfident as the biggest indiscretion among graduate jobseekers. There’s a fine distinction between confidence and overconfidence, and crossing it could tell heavily on your interview scores. Overconfidence is off-putting for interviewers and is certain to go against you. While you are expected to highlight your achievements, offset the risk of appearing overconfident by emphasizing your willingness to learn.

Mistake #4: Dressing inappropriately

A little more than a tenth of the employers (11%) feel new graduates often make the mistake of coming to interviews dressed too casually. Leave your ripped jeans and quirky T-shirts at home and dress for the position you are seeking in the company. Remember, different jobs require you to dress differently—what is appropriate for a banking job may not sit well in advertising. Choose your attire keeping in view the sector, job role and company culture. Find more tips on how to dress for an interview here.

Mistake #5: Turning up late

A small percentage of employers (4%) cited tardiness as a serious interview bungle. Turning up late is a certain deal-breaker because it raises questions about your discipline and work ethic. Prevent delays by getting your documents, portfolios, interview attire, etc. in order no later than the previous day, and also make transport arrangements at least a day in advance. On the day of the interview, leave early so that there’s plenty of time to account for traffic jams and holdups.

These are by no means the only factors that could prevent you from getting the job—others such as vague answers, lack of enthusiasm, lack of goals and objectives, poor communication skills etc. could also derail your job search. Since you aren’t yet well acquainted with the professional world as a graduate jobseeker, your greatest ally is information. Get a comprehensive perspective of the job search process for first-time job seekers by downloading our free e-book.

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