Even in the best of economies, snagging a prime interview for the perfect position is a rarity. Imagine how frustrating it would be to finally land that in-person meeting only to “blow” the opportunity because of something that could have been prevented.

The recruiting professionals of CreativeSourcing (the top sales recruiting firm in Chicago) have your back! We’ve put together a list of basic “don’t” items and then we’ll focus on the top five things that can negatively impact your employment chances.

Let’s start with the basic “don’t!” list:

  • Don’t be late
  • Don’t have a limp handshake
  • Don’t smell – wearing too much cologne/perfume, cigarettes, etc.
  • Don’t leave your cell phone on
  • Don’t space out in the interview – get your beauty sleep
  • Don’t interrupt or use inappropriate language
  • Don’t ask how many days off you get… just don‘t

Professionals seeking new opportunities will know the basics of what to do and what not to do, but here are a few tips you may not be aware of:

  1. Do your research. As recruitment specialists, we always encourage candidates to spend time learning about the company and the key players before an interview. This involves more than just a cursory look at their website. Taking the time to research the company will not only provide great information for your interview but will also let you know more about the company’s culture. Is this a place you want to work?
  • Do an Internet search about their industry
  • Search Twitter for comments about their company or products
  • Visit LinkedIn and read the profiles of those you’ll be meeting with
  • If they have a blog, read the latest articles to learn about their message, point of view and primary focus
  • Read their press releases; be knowledgeable about their current acquisitions, product launches or new hires
  • Search for company videos on YouTube. Watch a few so that you become more familiar with the company
  1. Respect the silence. Resist the urge to fill the silence with words. If you have asked a question and the person lets a little bit of silence fall before answering, take a breath and wait for them to answer. They may be forming their words, considering the question or just getting ready to sneeze.
  1. Prepare questions in advance. The worst thing you can do is to tell the person you are meeting with that you don’t have any questions. “You did such a good job explaining the role that you’ve answered all my questions.” No. Prepare some questions in advance. Remember, they are not only deciding if you are right for the position, you are making a similar assessment. So ask questions to help you make a decision:
  • What’s the company culture like?
  • What is the biggest challenge the company is facing in the next six months?
  • Has the advancements in technology altered your processes?
  • What makes you different from your top competitors?
  1. Be engaged. We frequently receive calls from our client’s about candidates being distant in the interview. They dressed well, answered the questions thoroughly and on paper, seem qualified, but their personality didn’t shine through. Companies are not only hiring for skill, but also will. Find ways to connect on a personal level with the manager. Be observant. If they have a Chicago White Sox poster on the wall, you might mention a baseball game you attended. Be engaged in the conversation:
  • Make eye contact
  • Lean forward in your chair
  • Take notes
  • Nod your head
  • Actively listen and participate in the conversation
  1. Ask for the job. This is a classic mistake our recruitment team sees almost every day. The interview has gone great, both parties think they have a match and then the candidate drops the ball. There is a fine line between desperation and active interest in a position; but make sure you let them know you are interested.
  • “I’m excited about this opportunity, how soon before you make a decision because I’m very interested in working for your company.”
  • “I can picture myself being very successful in this company and would very much like the opportunity to get started.”
  • “Thank you for your time today and just to be clear; I am very interested in this position.”

You get one chance to make a first impression; make sure that you put your best foot forward (in appropriate footwear). Don’t let something you can easily manage be the reason you miss the next great career opportunity.

Looking for a few more tips? Check out this article from Money with 50 Mistakes People Make in Interviews.

If you’re ready to hire your next sales pro or make a move in your sales career, give our Sales Recruiters at CreativeSourcing a call @ 773.296.0327.