BNET has an amusing and useful article about how even a stellar candidate can “flunk” an interview by overlooking hidden traps. These days, when you’re likely to be competing for an investment banking job against many others with years of experience that are similar to yours, it’s worth paying attention to the details. For example:
Never drop your guard in front of “the help.” Always treat receptionists, secretaries and other admin workers with the utmost courtesy and respect. Not surprisingly, interviewers often check with their staff about how a candidate behaves prior to the interview. On candidate, a “Mr. X”, cruised through his interview but had gone into a lengthy tirade beforehand in front of the receptionist about the lack of parking spaces available for visitors. His lack of control when he thought he wasn’t being judged set off warning signals when the interviewer heard about it.
Other no-nos: never denigrate a particular job you’re applying for. You may feel it’s beneath your talents and experience, but your goal is to get the job offer first, then have the choice of turning it down. Criticizing or commenting on the job description during the interview takes you immediately out of the running, and wastes both your time and the interviewer’s.
And these days with social networking playing a bigger role in job hunting, it pays to treat these informal networks in a professional manner. Many job leads have hit the wall when a candidate uses sloppy language, poor spelling, or has typos in their online messages. You have to be professional in every communication that relates to a prospective job, because these messages will be judged as carefully as your cover letter and resume.
Check out the BNET article for more ways to annoy an interviewer.