Preparing for an interview is one of the keys to landing your next contract. We've seen countless situations where a perfectly skilled contractor with a competitive rate completely bombs an interview and ruins their chance at a job. Truth is, it happens to the best of us, but it can be easily avoided. Here are 6 of the most common mistakes we see happen:
Drawing a blank on what you put on your resume! Do you know your resume? This sounds like a simple YES as you are the one who created it, but often candidates forget what they originally submitted. Worst yet, sometimes the interviewer asks about a statement made on the resume and the candidate can't even recall it. Prior to interviewing with a client, it is important to review what wrote in your resume.
Being unprepared. Specifically not taking the time to research the company or the interviewer prior to the meeting. Nothing sets an interview off more than a candidate telling the client they know very little or nothing about their company.
Not "selling" yourself. Take the time to understand WHY someone would want to hire for the position that they're interviewing you. Once you understand their needs and motives, it's easy for you to convince that that you're the best person to help them solve their problems.
Not engaging the interviewer with questions. Remember, this is your time to learn more about the role and how you would be a fit for the position. Many job descriptions cover basic points and are most often based on a "template". Go to the interview with the job description and understand the role. Be prepared to ask questions that the job description does not cover.
Showing up late! Ugh, this is the biggest mistake candidates make in an interview. Nothing puts off a future client more than showing up late. First of all, it makes a bad impression immediately, even before you have spoken. You may have been the perfect candidate for the job but can easily lose out on it if you show up late. It is important to get to the interview location at least 15-20 minutes early to give yourself time to compose yourself and relax before an interview. No matter how many times you have been interviewed in the past, even seasoned contractors need to take the time to compose themselves before meeting their next potential client.
Thinking people don't "judge a book by its cover!" Yes, a professional appearance is important. No matter what industry you are working in, whether it is technology, finance and accounting, telecom, or anywhere else, clients instantly judge you the minute they lay eyes on you -- it's human nature. We always recommend to our contractors that they dress to impress and to always look professional (even if you know the work environment is casual). Many contractor roles today require interaction with all levels and areas of a client business and your client wants to know they will be well represented.
These are only some of the more common mistakes I've heard from clients after they interview with a contractor. Obviously there are countless ways somebody can ruin a first impression and any hiring manager can probably give you at least a few interesting stories. Do you have any stories where you or a colleague learned a valuable lesson about interviews the hard way? Share them in the comments below and help prevent anybody from making a similar mistake in the future.