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Avoid the 10 Most Common Mistakes at a Job Interview

Almost 14 million Americans were unemployed in May 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're unemployed and actively looking for a job, you're likely to meet with a great deal of competition from others seeking the same position. You can increase your odds of success and avoid many mistakes if you use common sense and think ahead.

Dress to match the nature of the job you're interviewing for. Wear a business suit for a professional position and jeans for a construction job. Finish grooming before you meet with your prospective employer. Don't apply fresh lipstick, brush your hair or check your teeth while you're waiting for the meeting.

Arrive for your interview on time. Showing up far too early can be as bad as being late. It indicates that you don't manage your time well or that you're desperate.

Leave your cell phone in your car. If you don't drive and have to keep it with you during the interview, turn it off. If it's on, you might be tempted to glance at it to see who's calling or texting you. This can be as bad as taking a call.

Reschedule if you're not feeling well and are obviously ill. Your interviewer won't appreciate you spreading your germs around his workplace, causing existing employees to call in sick.

Remain seated during the interview. Don't ask your interviewer to excuse you for a moment so you can use the bathroom or take care of something important you just remembered you have to do.

Commit your resume or application to memory. Don't obviously scramble to remember exactly what you said, who you indicated your last supervisor was or who you gave as references. Don't indicate that you'd rather the interviewer didn't call one particular reference or supervisor. If you're worried about that, don't include that person in the first place.

Wait for your interviewer to mention salary, compensation and benefits. If you bring up the subject yourself, and if you do it prematurely, it will appear that you're more interested in what the company can do for you than in what you can do for the company.

Prepare good answers to standard interview questions so you can respond promptly and confidently. These might include such things as why you want the job or what you consider to be your greatest strength.

Give your interviewer your full attention. Don't yawn, fidget, look at your watch, chew gum or talk over your interviewer. When she speaks, close your mouth so she knows you're interested in what she's saying. According to a report by CNN Living, almost half of employers questioned indicated that a prospective employee's lack of interest might cost her the job.

Plan what you're going to say about why you're no longer at your last job and stick to your plan. Don't be tempted to embellish or explain too much. If you didn't get along with your previous supervisor, keep it to yourself. CNN Living indicates that 49 percent of hiring personnel polled said that speaking ill of your previous employer is the worst mistake you can make.



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