There are some job seekers who still don't get it. You need to be well prepared for an interview. It's often the first face-to-face interaction with a potential employer.
To avoid making a negative first impression, I asked human resources
consultant Eileen Levitt to name some common interview blunders. Levitt is
president of The HR Team in Columbia, which helps smaller firms with their
recruiting, hiring and other human resources needs.
"I had a candidate come here and I asked her, 'What do you know about
us?'" Levitt recalls. "She said, 'My Internet was down today, and I
couldn't do research.' [The interview] was scheduled two weeks ago. That
turned me off."
Another gaffe is dressing too casually. Tube tops and flip-flops are
"It's always better to be overdressed," she says.
Here's a can't-believe-it-happens-but-it's-true story: Candidates who use
profanity during interviews.
"We hear it all the time," she says. "You can't repeat it in the paper."
Some other interview blunders include bad-mouthing former employers,
giving vague answers and taking cell phone calls.
A survey released last week by Accountemps, a financial services staffing
agency, found that 47 percent of 150 respondents think little or no
knowledge of the company is the most common interview mistake. Being
unprepared to discuss skills and experience, career plans and goals and
lacking enthusiasm also top the list.
Lack of soft skills, such as not making eye contact and arriving late, are
some other interview slip-ups.
From the mailbag: A few readers passed along their tips about staying fit
at work after last week's column.
Kate, of Mount Washington, says she sits at her desk eight hours a day and
is trying to lose weight from her last pregnancy.
She makes a trip to the farmer's market downtown every Sunday morning and
buys vegetables and fruits, "which inspires me to eat well all week." Kate
spends time Sunday preparing the fruits and veggies and packing them
individually for the week.
"I put it in bags so I can easily grab something on my way out the door
each morning and have healthy stuff to snack on and eat for lunch," Kate
Coleen, a reader from Odenton, parks her car 25 minutes away, so she can
walk to the office. Like Kate, she brings healthy snacks, including V-8
juice, which is 70 calories for 11.5 ounces.
How do you keep off the pounds at work? Send your tips, comments and questions to email@example.com. Please include your first name and your city.
You can't live with them and you can't live without them.
They're high-maintenance or diva workers in your offices. They can be demanding, pushy and even obnoxious. But they're also some of the best employees.
Are you a proud diva worker? Or do you manage them? We are looking for stories from workers and managers on how you handle high-maintenance colleagues for a future article. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact information.