We’ve heard it before—it only takes 30 seconds to make a first impression. An interview is no exception. Since an interview is when we want to make the best impression, there is little room for error in how we present ourselves.
Minnesota School of Business-Blaine hosted an employer panel for students in the Career Development class, so that students could hear from employers what it is that will make them stand out in the job search.
Six employers sat on the panel, representing a variety of industries. They included: Lynne Hendrick from Clinical Research Institute; Karen Giles Kingsbury from Creative Design and More; Melissa O’Neill from Guaranty Bank; Julie Dagen from Verizon Wireless; Lindsey McInnis from Premier Disability; and Andrew Pearce from Aerotek.
The students had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions about resumes, cover letters and interviewing.
The final question asked gave the panelists an opportunity to share some experiences of candidates who, let’s just say, didn’t get the job.
Below are the panelists’ seven interview horror stories:
- Chomping gum – Although it’s great to have fresh breath during your interview, it’s not the time to chomp on your bubble gum. In fact, it’s best not to have gum in your mouth at all during an interview.
- Ripped jeans/Tennis shoes – No matter what type of job you’re interviewing for, it’s a good idea to dress professionally. Ripped jeans and tennis shoes never fall into the professional category. If you need some professional clothes at an affordable cost, try TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or thrift shops. All carry professional clothes at a cost that isn’t going to break the bank.
- Personal hygiene (or lack thereof) – “I had someone come in for an interview with a suit, but I was curious to the last time that suit was washed,” said Karen Giles Kingsbury, owner of Creative Design and More, one of the panelists. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, you’ve showered, your teeth are brushed, and your hair is combed and well kept. Hygiene can be one of the first things to ruin that first impression.
- Bringing kids to the interview – While employers understand you have a life outside of work, the time to show it off is not the interview. Melissa O’Neill of Guaranty Bank had an interviewee who brought her kids along and left them to wait in the waiting room. Not ideal!
- Arrogance/Talking money – “Am I going to make $100,000 in the first year?” Probably not the best question to ask at an interview. The first interview is your chance to speak to the employer about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Be confident, yet not arrogant.
- Crying during the interview – Andrew Pearce, recruiter from Aerotek, said he had someone start crying during an interview. This makes an all-around uncomfortable situation, and you don’t want to make your interviewer uncomfortable.
- Children screaming during phone interview – Be sure to go somewhere quiet for your phone interview where you’re not going to be distracted, and the interviewer is not going to be wondering what mayhem is happening at your home.
“You will hear many different opinions on various aspects of the job search,” notes Nicole Etter, Career Development instructor. “It’s good to hear different viewpoints on resumes and interviewing because you will be exposed to many different types of employers with different preferences during your job search.”
For additional information on job search techniques, visit Melissa or Nicole in the Career Services department. They can help you with anything from creating a resume, to fine-tuning the details on any of your career documents. They can help prepare you for an interview through mock interviews, professional dress, and interview tips. If you are currently seeking a position, they can send you job leads related to your field.
Wherever you are in your job search, MSB is here to assist you. And remember, it’s never too early to get a jump start on your career, whether through an internship, part-time job, or just meeting with Career Services staff to start preparing for your next steps after graduation.