When you're on a romantic dinner date, you try to avoid "mood killers" -- talking with a mouth full of food, cursing an ex-lover, or complaining about a foot ailment. During a job interview, you have to avoid similar spoilers if you want to make a good impression.
Here are 10 of the most common "advantage killers" and how you can steer clear of them during your next job interview.
1. Not knowing your aim. Too often candidates think their purpose in an interview is simply to ask for a job. Your goals are to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the organization, and to assess whether the job is really right for you.
2. Being too needy. Neediness is probably the No. 1 advantage-killer in an interview. Remind yourself before walking in the door: you do not need this job. You do need food, you do need air, and you do need water. Keep things in perspective.
3. Lousy nonverbal communication. This is about demonstrating confidence. Your first impression makes the difference. When you enter the interview room, stand up straight, make eye contact, and offer a strong handshake with your interviewer. If necessary, jot their name on your notepad as soon as you seat yourself. Do the same for any other individual you are meeting with.
4. Compromising your position. You should always participate in the interview as an equal, not a subordinate, of the person conducting the interview. Often this is a subtle matter of self-perception, so remind yourself before the interview.
5. Falling into the answers-only rut. An interview is a conversation. Don't just answer their questions. That's why you've prepared stories to highlight your accomplishments, which will be your moments to shine. When you do answer any questions, make sure that you answer immediately and follow up with a question of your own, if at all possible.
6. Rambling. Telling your interviewer more than they need to know could be fatal. Your stories should be...