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FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING

When you interview with a prospective employer, you probably have 100 things running through your head, and this may cause you much anxiety. However, if you can focus on the most important items of the interview, then you will feel more relaxed and in control of the message you wish to send. Many people find it helpful to know what not to do in the interview in order to better understand what they should do.

TOP 8 INTERVIEW MISTAKES TO AVOID

In order to best prepare yourself for that all-important interview, make sure you avoid the following mistakes that could prevent you from winning that position.

1. Dressing inappropriately
Know the culture of the company. Don't dress in business casual if many of the current employees wear more conservative clothing—you want to look like you already fit the bill.

2. Appearances that are loud, bright, excessive, or extreme
Resist the temptation to wear perfume, bright colors, or loud nail polish; cover up those tattoos. You want the interviewer to focus on your skills and accomplishments, not your appearance.

3. Being late to the interview
This mistake pretty much speaks for itself. This leaves a bad taste in any prospective employer's mouth. If you can't be on time for the interview, how dependable could you be as an employee? Arrive at least ten minutes before the interview begins.

4. Not asking questions
Do not sit like a bump on a log during your interview. Show interest in the company by asking the employer what his or her biggest challenges are; what the average work day for this position is like; or what the next step is following the interview. The questions you ask are indicative of your interest in the position. If you don't ask questions, the interviewer will assume you won't accept the job offer if it is extended.

5. Asking about salary and benefits
The appropriate time to discuss issues of compensation is when a firm offer is on the table. Don't bring up the topic prematurely. Take the time to learn about the company and the open position. In the end, money isn't everything. Career satisfaction comes in many forms (opportunity for growth, a collaborative team environment, etc.). Most individuals are seeking positions due to issues other than financial matters. So during the interview, concentrate on what really matters—the responsibilities of the job at hand.

6. Lack of resume or vita copies
Don't assume that the employer already has a copy of your resume. Many employers now conduct group interviews, so you should always bring extra copies of your resume to pass around. This will demonstrate that you have foresight and consideration.

7. Being unprepared for the questions
Avoid going blank during the interview by preparing your answers in advance to some of the most common interview questions. You will appear poised and confident to the employer.

8. Dishonesty
Never, ever lie to an employer to get the position. You undermine your own strengths and abilities and the trust of the interviewer. If you can't get the position based on current and potential skills and accomplishments, then you probably shouldn't be applying for that particular position.

MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION

Now that you are aware of the most common interview mistakes, you can take proactive steps to ensure that your interview is the best that it can be. Review the above list before each interview and formulate your plan to make an outstanding impression.
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