Have you been on the job-hunting merry-go-round for way too long? If you can’t get past the interview stage, you are probably making one of these fatal errors.

We all know competition is tough, so when we didn’t get the interview, we often say things like: ‘I didn’t have enough experience‘, ‘I should have applied quicker’ or ‘I just wasn’t lucky.’

Interviewers are on the lookout for red flags; their goal during the interview is to pick up on the signs that the potential employee is not for them.

Remember: it is a filtering process for them, until one candidate is left standing. Even if you came through the gated market (a referral), one red flag can take you out of the running.

If you agree to be judged on your past – send your resume. If  you want to be judged on your future potential – get a referral.

What we need to understand is that landing that coveted interview has little to do with your experience, being the first to apply or luck. So when those interview invitations are still eluding you, then you are probably making one of these mistakes.

1) You’re Unprepared

It is immediately obvious to the hiring manager when a candidate is unprepared or “winging it”, as they know all the signs. A prospective employer sees things quite simply; if you won’t work hard in preparing for an interview on your own behalf, what chance is there that you will prepare well for an important element of the job on their behalf?

The signs that tip off a hiring manager that a candidate is unprepared are:

  1.  The candidate’s answers do not relate back to the job at hand.
  2.  They ask for information about the company that is on the company website or is public knowledge.
  3.  They ask questions that are generic and not company specific.
  4.  They don’t have any questions when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us?

2) You’re Late

Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, it also shows a lack of respect for the company, the position and your interviewer. For a jobseeker, being late for an interview is simply inexcusable.

3) You’re Rambling

There is little worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on. The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. If you can’t keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused in the interview, it is a telltale sign that you won’t be able to do it in the workplace either. Rambling often comes from being nervous, but it is also a sign of being unprepared.

4)  You’ve Got Bad Manners

Bad manners can be displayed in a multitude of ways — being rude, talking down to or dismissing people, showing arrogance by being unable to admit mistakes or show self-reflection in answers, forgetting the interviewer’s name.

5) You Badmouth Ex-Bosses

When interviewing for a job, you want the prospective employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature and effective way. Bad-mouthing your current or past boss or co-workers will make you seem small-minded and bitchy — clearly not traits that are attractive to employers.

6) You Have Got The Wrong Look

First impressions are the “love at first sight” of the business world. When the image you present at your interview is not in line with the standard of dress for the organization, the hiring manager will question if you are a good fit.

7) Your Body Language Is Off

Your body produces cues that can transmit to the interviewer your anxiety, hesitation, insecurity, confidence or even arrogance. Because interpersonal skills are vital in the business world, a hiring manager will be paying close attention to your body language and how it corresponds (or does not correspond) to the questions they ask and the answers you give. If you are not aware of your body language you could be unknowingly sending signals that raise an immediate red flag for the interviewer.

Red flags include not making eye contact, holding eye contact for too long, crossing your arms at the wrong time, shifting in your seat and keeping your hands under the table or in your pockets.

This is an edited extract from Stand Out and Succeed: Discover Your Passion, Accelerate Your Career and Become Recession-Proof by career and business strategist Christy Frank. Christy Frank is the internationally published author of Stand Out & Succeed: Discover your passion, accelerate your career and become recession-proof. As a Career Strategist she helps professionals, freelancers and graduates take their career to the next level. www.christyfrank.com

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