Welcome to the last of our 3 articles on ’9 top interview tips’. Today, we’ll look at the final 3 tips:
7. You discussed salary – at the wrong time
As a general rule of thumb, you should never bring up salary before the employer does. Doing so makes the employer think that you only care about the money involved, not about helping the employer succeed.
It is of course understandable that you’d want to earn more if you were to change jobs, but if higher salary is your only motivation, you are not likely to impress the interviewer.
If the topic does arise, however, be honest about your salary history. Employers can verify your salary in a matter of minutes these days, so lying only makes you look bad. In “Land That Job!” there is a whole chapter about how the salary game is played in today’s market and how to negotiate the best possible salary.
8. You have a terrible reputation – online OR offline
Let’s start with your reputation online. Social networking sites and online searches are the newest way that many employers are checking up on prospective hires. Every blog post, tweet, status update and photo leaves a footprint online, whether you like it or not. With over 80% of potential employers researching you online (source: CIPD), you need to make sure your online reputation is up to scratch.
Employers will dig up information about you from your Facebook page. If you don’t want them to see it, you should change your settings to private. But they also look on other popular networking sites like LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube and Twitter, and also some lesser known sites like Xing.
The golden rule is to build completely separate personal and professional online personas: use one email address for your social activity – Facebook, etc – and a totally separate one for your career-related activity on LinkedIn and so on. You might even maintain two separate Twitter accounts.
If you have posted stuff you’d rather an employer didn’t find, delete it if you can (e.g. delete your entire Twitter account) or bury it if not (e.g. remove tags with your name on from other people’s Facebook photos). If someone else has commented negatively about you online, counteract it with three times as much positive publicity, such as getting recommendations on LinkedIn.
As for your professional reputation ‘offline’, employers might take informal references on you from people you both know, and if more than 1 reference is not positive, there is no chance you could get a job with that particular company. It is always a good idea to leave a company on good terms!
A few weeks ago a candidate I’ve spoken to has given me a name of one of our employees as a referee – they used to work together in the past. Of course, I have contacted that person to ask for their thoughts on my candidate. I am sure you can imagine my surprise when that person explained they’ve fired that candidate in the past for a number of reasons that shall remain anonymous here. Therefore, if you are providing someone’s name as a referee, make sure this person is happy to provide reference for you.
9. You don’t look the part
Plain and simple – if you are applying for a £150k job, don’t come in for an interview wearing a £50 suit. Whilst most candidates I have dealt with looked very professional, there were several who clearly thought what they wore didn’t matter (it did). I remember one particular situation when I met in the reception a female candidate whom I have interviewed previously over the phone. She sounded professional and as she was the only woman in the interview process for this senior sales role, I desperately wanted her to do well in the interview. Sadly, her chances were ruined by: a) wearing a bra 2 sizes too small which was clearly visible from underneath her blouse; b) wearing make-up more suitable for a night out; c) wearing such an overbearing perfume that the smell was lingering in the meeting room for the rest of the afternoon.
A well-prepared, enthusiastic, professional and honest candidate will more than likely get the job above anyone else. Do all you can to be the best in your interview. Do your research, prepare, don’t take any chances and the job will be yours. Women; what should you wear at an interview?