Job Hunting? Avoid These Mistakes and Impress Hiring Manager

How to impress the hiring manager.

ByABC News via logo
August 2, 2010, 11:54 PM

Aug. 3, 2010 — -- It's hard enough landing an interview, so when you do, you don't want to blow it. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid when sitting in the hot seat to win over the hiring manager.

There's a fine line between being thoroughly prepared and overwhelming the interviewer with too much information, says Gretchen Gunn of MGD Services, a New Jersey-based staffing firm. Being extremely over-prepared can backfire because you don't want to walk in with charts, reports or unlimited data that says you have all of the answers and are ready to take over the place. This is especially relevant for older, more experienced workers who are either applying for lower level positions or meeting with decision makers who are junior. Do your homework -- know everything you can about the position, the company, the industry, competitors -- but don't walk in with a plan to do a mind dump with all of that. Let the employer guide the agenda of the meeting -- and speak up confidently with your knowledge and ideas as appropriate. You can wow them without overwhelming.

Many mistakes surround how you answer expected questions, warns Ted Sakis, operations director at InMotion Hosting in Virginia Beach. Many people can't answer, "What have you been doing since you lost your job?" nor can they explain their five-year plan. Be ready to explain what you've been doing while out of work. "Looking for a job" isn't an exciting answer. If you haven't volunteered, taken a class or temped, then share a great book you're reading. Anyone can do that. As for the five-year plan, the answer should relate to the work you're pursuing. Saying things like "cruising the Caribbean," which plenty of people jokingly say, won't generate laughs.

Dan Black, Americas director of campus recruiting at Ernst & Young, says a great resume and terrific experience doesn't mean much if the candidate is smug or overly cocky in the interview. He also cautions against mentioning competitive offers from another company during a first interview since it's too early to negotiate.