Interview Mistakes: What You Can Learn From One Job Seeker

Mistakes are bound to happen at some point for a job seeker. Between all of the cover letters, resumes and interviews, it is only human for a mistake to happen.

The key to making a mistake during the job seeking process is how the candidate reacts to it. Most hiring managers will tell you it is better to own up to the mistake and show how you can correct and move past it. Unfortunately, not all job seekers take that approach.

In a recent story he shared through a post on LinkedIn, Nextiva’s Vice President of Sales, James Murphy, shared an account that made me laugh at first—then ask, why?

Murphy posted, “…Had an interviewee show up 30 minutes late for an interview today. He did not attempt to contact us to say he would be late and when I asked why he was late he lied about his scheduled time. I asked to see the confirmation email he received and it clearly stated the interview time. I do not have time or patience for poor character, so I simply thanked him for his time and told him we were not interested. He thought I was joking, I was 100% serious. If you don’t have the ability to show up on time for the chance to get the job, you do not have respect for mine or my management teams time and you DEFINITELY do not have respect for the opportunity! How do you handle people who show up late for an interview?”

The humor I found in this post was in regard to the interviewee lying about the scheduled time. In the day and age of digital where you receive confirmation emails and calendar invitations, why would someone lie about something that could be easily verified with the click of a button on your phone?

Murphy’s frustration to the job seeker’s reaction is absolutely warranted. A simple phone call explaining why he/she was running late and asking Murphy if he would like to re-schedule would have been much better than showing up and pretending there was a time mix up of some sort.

What can you learn from this massive interview mistake?

No. 1: Have the common courtesy to let someone know you are going to be late

This rule should apply from the job seeking stage to your professional stage post-hiring. In this day and age of people having their phones in their hand 95 percent of the time they are awake, there is no excuse for not calling/texting/emailing someone if you are running late.

As detailed in Murphy’s reaction above, you are not only making yourself look bad—but you are wasting the time of key decision makers in an industry you are looking to work in. Imagine showing up at a networking event trying to grow your personal connections for a future sales opportunity, only to find out the person running the event is that person you lied to? Good luck to your reputation in that room.

No. 2: Always plan on arriving early for an interview

Growing up, I was always taught to “arrive 15 minutes early” for job interviews and appointments in business classes. This is an excellent rule of thumb to live by, but if you have trouble arriving 15 minutes early, I suggest aiming for 30 minutes if time permits.

Why 30 minutes, you ask?

Well, it will give you time to review your notes about the company and the job position. It will also show the hiring manager you are excited to meet with them and are prepared to meet earlier if necessary.

No. 3: Never lie if/when you make a mistake

Lying is the easy way out of a mistake. Employers and hiring managers do not want the person who takes the easy way out, plain and simple.

Sure, admitting a mistake opens you up to scrutiny and the potential for someone to be mad at you—but showing the ability and plan to rectify that mistake is going to be beneficial to you in the long run. It proves to those in a position of power you can handle problems when they come up, and can think on your feet in order to come up with a solution.

Final Thought

Seeing situations shared like this on social media provide excellent learning opportunities for both job seekers and those currently in the work force. Take the time to follow industry leaders on social media, because they are providing real-life examples and situations you can learn from before they happen.

In this case, not showing up late to an interview seems like common sense—but not lying about it is even higher on the common sense meter. So, do not be like the person in this example. If you make a mistake, step up to the plate and own it, then show the person in a position of power how you are going to overcome that mistake.

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