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Top 5: What NOT to do in an interview...
08/12/2011

Although Orchard have been successful in placing thousands of candidates over the years, there are always those who attended the same interview but weren't offered the job.

 
Most of the time the reason is simply down to there being a 'better suited candidate'. However the occasional applicant does fall foul of some obvious interview mistakes. You will be amazed how one small thing can significantly decrease your chances of getting that job.

I've therefore listed a top five below of what not to do in an interview situation:

1. Bad Manners / Communication
- Don't chew gum / sweets, smell of smoke, treat the interview chair like a chaise longue, leave your mobile on, fidget, come across as over confident or give the impression that you've already got the job.
- On the other hand, don't combat nerves by looking at the walls, by waffling, taking over the interview, look disinterested, reply to a question without fully understanding it.
- Remember your personality is one of the first things that will be picked up on and first impressions count.

2. Portfolio
- Don't take too much work. Remember that interviews are generally limited in time and if all your work is to the same high standard then you will still get your message across with 16 to 20 pieces max.
- Don't present your work with an overload of distracting boarders, own corporate identity or thumb nail samples. Keep work clearly visible, clinical, well laid out with plenty of dead space around the work to draw the eye in.
- Don't rely on there being internet access within the interview room to view your work online.
- Finally, don't use other peoples work, it won't take long for an employer to suss you out.

3. Interview Preparation
- First and foremost, don't arrive late. Your sat nav might let you down on the day so pre-plan your journey using Google maps (street view is great) or even better do a dummy run the day or weekend before. You may know the way but what is the travel time like in rush hour? If you are running late at least call ahead to let them know.
- In the interview itself, don't rely on your knowledge of the company and the job role, do your web research and gain knowledge from your connections in the industry. Knowledge shows interest and enthusiasm and will always earn you brownie points.
- A big no no is dressing inappropriately for an interview. This can be an easy pit fall in the creative industry these days as some companies (agencies in particular) have moved towards a 'dress down' code rather than formal suit and tie. It is important to 'look the part' and that could mean dressing up or down, if unsure call the company reception prior to the interview.

4. Being Negative
- Don't slag off work in your portfolio. If you really can't stomach some pieces why put it in? Most people have done some 'bread & butter' work at some point in their career and indeed there can be a positive spin to this by confirming the reason you put it in as most studios do it and you understand it has to be done.
- Similarly don't bad mouth your employer or peers. Even though you might be the innocent party, at the very least you will come across as a moaner.
- Don't change your interview date unless its a life or death reason. It may annoy the potential employer and disrupt their tight work / interview schedule.
- Make sure your diary is free before you commit to a date.

5. General Don'ts
- Don't ask about the salary or what time they finish work.
- Don't mention you will have to leave early to pick up the kids on a Monday.
- Don't show a desire to do a job not within the job description or mentioning other job interviews you are going for that are more appealing.

Some of the above points are comical but still happen, others are down to nerves. However, thinking about the interview in detail before hand will make you better prepared and this should at least calm some of these nerves. As I've mentioned already the most common reason you didn't get the job is because another applicant was better suited. It can be a fine line between yourself and them, so making one small error could throw all that effort out of the window.

Richard Bridgwater @OrchardRich

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