Job Talk: How To Screw Up Your Job Interview Within 10 Seconds

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Donald Robertson

Let’s face it, first impressions count. Much than we’d like to admit. So it’s much easier to impress in the first crucial 10 seconds than to spend the rest of the interview trying to win someone over.

Here’s what to avoid if you don’t want to screw things up instantaneously.


#1 Being late
There’s nothing more frustrating for an interviewer than being kept waiting. Give yourself double the normal time you need and be sure you know where you’re going. If something crops up, then call in advance to warn them you’ll be late.

#2 Not giving eye contact
Eye contact is really important as it helps to establish trust early on. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable, making eye contact is a sign of real confidence. You don’t have to maintain it throughout the entire interview but make sure that you look up and engage in eye-contact periodically.

#3 Being flustered
Being flustered can be misinterpreted as being unprepared, so be sure to take a few minutes before the interview starts to gather your thoughts and calm yourself. Take in a notepad if you need to take a few notes and ask for reflection time if you can’t answer a question immediately.

#4 Being too full on
Being confident doesn’t mean you have to spill your entire achievements in the first 10 seconds or name drop organisations you’ve worked for or people you know. Feel free to share your achievements and past successes, but do it with humility. Wait until you’re invited to give you answers and then at the end feel free to share anything extra that you think is important.

#5 Not believing in yourself
If you walk into an interview thinking there’s no way you’ll get it then this is the message that you’re likely to send to your interviewer. Remember that they have invited you to interview because they think you are capable of doing the job. Even if you’re unsuccessful at the end, it will have still given you loads more experience and practice.

If you have a bad job interview don’t worry, there are some lessons you can learn from it, and if you’re feeling really unsuccessful in the job search department why not check out these Netflix shows that might inspire your job search.

Written by Hayley Wintermantle.