5 Interview Habits to Avoid

Most people get a little nervous about being interviewed. They view it as an interrogation rather than a conversation. The interviewer simply wants to get to get know you to find our if you are a right fit for the job, be it for a pageant, college admissions or a new job. Here are five quick tips to help you eliminate habits that are a turn off for interviewers.

1.  Eliminate crutch words: We use crutch words to stall the conversation so we have time to collect our thoughts. Sometimes people use them for emphasis, however they do not add any meaning to your sentence and stick out as an annoying verbal pattern that can be very distracting for the interviewer. You want people to pay attention to the content of your answers, not your bad habits. Crutch words include: Actually, like, obviously, literally, basically, and honestly. Try going a day without using them!

2. Be forthcoming: Don't make the interviewer have to pry information out of you. Even though you may be shy, be detail oriented and give enough information to complete the answer. Shoot for 3 or 4 sentences. On the flip side, always have a few questions in mind that you would ask your interviewer. If you are interviewing for a college or job, having thoughtful questions ready shows that you've looked at the big picture and are serious about finding the right fit as well.

3. Less is more: Interview attire, make-up and especially perfume should be modest. The goal is to look professional, not like a fashionista (unless you are interviewing for Vogue Magazine or FIT!). That doesn't mean you can't express your personal style, but leave the 5 inch platform heels at home. Keep in mind, copious amounts of perfume could irritate the interviewer. Maybe they are allergic or worse, it could remind them of someone they'd rather forget, like an old girlfriend!

4. Cool & collected: Distracting body language tics can result in an interview that lacks focus and loses the attention of your interviewer. It is vital that you are able to sit or stand still with good posture, while making strong and confident eye contact. Always have a "home base" for your hands by either placing them in your lap or clasping them below the bust line. Gesture with confidence and avoid nervous tics like scratching, pulling your ear, or rubbing your chin or brow.

5. Eliminate slang: Teens and young adults can tend to have a language of their own. Slang will make it seem like you aren't ready to perform at a higher professional level. Not only that, your interviewer may not understand what you are trying to say. From "photo bombs" to "epic fails" and "cray cray" to "throwing shade" leave the slang at home.

Ultimately, learning to present yourself with poise is not rocket science. It just takes a little self awareness and practice. Ask a friend or teacher to interview you and see if any of these issues arise. Take your time when you speak by slowing down and being sure to pronounce every syllable. Stand out as a well-spoken, articulate candidate who communicates with confidence and focus.

Photo: Victoria's Secret: Get the look here.

1 comment

  • Michelle Becker

    Michelle Becker Milwaukee, WI

    These are great pointers! Just be yourself and be confident!

    These are great pointers! Just be yourself and be confident!

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