Stupid Interview Mistakes: Being Unprepared |­­

I discuss another cardinal sin of interviewing—unpreparedness

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I want to talk with you about another 1 of those stupid interview that job hunters make way too often. This is the mistake of being unprepared.

If you're aggressively looking for work, you may be sending out your resume to tons of different places. You just don't remember. The phone rings, they start saying, "Hi! My name is so and so. You forwarded your resume," and your 1st response is, "Which position is this?"

Right off the bat you let people know that you are spamming your resume to a bunch of places. I'll be kind. . . You submitted your resume to a lot of different places looking for jobs. The way to handle that situation is to say, "I want to talk with you. I am in with someone right now. Can I call you back at…? (Offer up time)" this way, you can go back to your notes, see which job this was and then be able to speak intelligently about your background and how it fits. Remember, your job is to talk about what you've done that relates to what they are looking for and not just talk about what you've done.

Another boo-boo, and this 1 is even worse. You're an in person interview. They just invited you into talk. You taking no time to research the firm and what it does. A lot of firms like to know you understand some basic information about them so that you can link it to what you've done, not just simply what they're looking for what their business does.

Or, you walk in the door and sit down and basically say, "So, which job is this?" Or words to that effect. There are lots of little ways that it comes across that you are unprepared to talk about their job. You can't do this. What you're basically doing is indicating that you don't care. What does it really take to be prepared? After you submit a resume, you save the original job and into a file refer to it before the interview. It's that simple.

Don't be unprepared. It sends a bad signal to an employer about laziness . You don't want to be doing that. You always want to be in control and demonstrating that you are a professional.

Rather than be unprepared, in the case of a phone call, simply say, "Can I get your name and number and can I give you a call back in about an hour," or "Can I call you back at 2:30?" Whatever the time is. "That doesn't work for me. Can we do it at 4 PM?"

"Sure, we can do that four."

"What's your number?" You get your notes and call back, look at your job description so as you're ready. You will be able to speak intelligently about your background and how it fits their job.

Even knowing what the job description says, remember to ask my Single Best Question You Should Ask On Any Interview before things kick off because things may have changed a little bit since the 1st conversation or since you saw the ad.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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