8 Surprising Job Interview Mistakes

You probably shouldn't do this.You probably shouldn't do this.Among the hundreds of candidates you're probably competing with for a job, many are going to commit one of these interview mistakes. Good thing you won't.

By Anna Davies

1. Your Twitter Feed Is Lame
"I always look at potential employees' Twitter feeds," says Alison Brod, president of Alison Brod PR. "I know it's informal, but a stream littered with u's and luv's makes you look 12 years old- definitely not hiring material." Other stuff to avoid: tweeting during work hours, always talking about social plans, and swearing. What's good? Smart retweets and mentions of industry players. "A recent candidate's feed mentioned a few clients we rep," says Brod. "It was clear she cared about the industry. She got the gig."

2. You Overused Your "In"
Employers expect candidates to use connections to get their foot in the door. But a recent survey by Michigan State University found that 32 percent of large companies have received résumés from parents on behalf of their kids-a major no­-no. "It looks like your parents are more invested in the job than you are," explains Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. Have your mom or dad or whoever make the initial intro, then send your own e­mail or make a phone call saying that you'd love to connect.

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3. You Inflated Your Digital Footprint

FYI: Saying you're skilled in MS Office is like saying you're a pro at checking your voice mail. It's a given, so don't oversell yourself. You're not "social media savvy" just because you tweet. So does everyone. "I see so many résumés that list 'social media' as a skill, then I find out that the candidate's just using Facebook," says Brod. Unless you have experience in analytics, viral campaigns, or managing an account with more than 100,000 followers, don't go there.

4. You Were Too Friendly
It's okay to LinkedIn or Google your interviewer before your meeting-chances are, he or she did the same to you. It's a great way to gather some basic intel that can help break the ice when you meet. But be cautious about how you use that information. "I once mentioned to a candidate that I noticed she'd played volleyball in college and that I had as well," recalls Mike Indursky, president of the spa chain Bliss World. "She responded by asking my height…then made me stand nose-to- nose with her to see if I was lying." Keep it professional, even if the convo crosses over into personal territory.

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5. You Have a Lot of Baggage-Literally
Leave anything you don't need at home. "A candidate came into my office holding these enormous shopping bags," says Indursky. "It made it seem like our interview was just another stop in a day full of errands." It also makes you seem disorganized and unprepared. And save the latte for after the interview. "If you show up with coffee, I feel like you think I'm there to entertain you," says Suzanne Gleason, area manager at the recruiting firm PeopleShare. "Plus, I'm jealous I don't have one."

6. You Praised the Perks, Not the Position
Even if you've landed an interview at a company with Google worthy extras, refrain from mentioning the awesome cafeteria or cool vibe and focus on the stuff that they'll actually pay you to do. "I want to hear how your interests and talents line up with the job description," says Gleason. Home in on one thing in the job description you'd truly excel at, and play that up.

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7. Dressed to Impress
Sites like renttherunway.com make it easy to score a killer interview outfit. But looking so great can backfire if you're not careful. "I had a candidate plop down her clutch on my desk at the beginning of the interview," recalls Jess,* a media executive in New York City. "She obviously wanted me to see it. I felt like she was using the purse to prove herself because she wasn't confident in her talent." By all means look polished, and wear designer duds if you want, just don't be obvious about it (even if you're interviewing in the fashion industry-they'll notice, trust us).

8. You Spoke Too Soon
Wait until you've at least left the building before calling anyone to share how things went. "One candidate was on the phone in the bathroom and was overheard talking about how she just nailed the interview," says Shara Senderoff, CEO of internship search site internsushi.com. It came off as cocky, and we never called her back."


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