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5180355788_d1138bce9d_mFinally, it’s happened—an invitation to interview for a job. Have you already blown your chance before you put one hand on their office’s door?

You may be surprised to learn that the way you respond to the initial inquiry sets the tone and influences employers’ impressions before you’ve even met. Are you sabotaging your interview before you start? If any of these points sound familiar, you may now know why you didn’t get the job:

You didn’t follow instructions. You receive an email or a phone call inviting you to interview for a job, along with a series of steps to take to schedule an interview. Are you sure you always read and follow those directions?

You’re slow to respond. If you include an email address on your resume, employers assume it is a good way to reach you. (Most, if not all, will expect to be able to contact you electronically.)

You don’t seem flexible. An employer calls on the phone to schedule a time to meet, and your response to every suggestion is “no.” Even though the organization may not cancel your chances entirely at this point (it may be required by law to follow through with an interview), you will have a difficult reputation to overcome when you meet in person.

You use bad judgment about when to answer your phone. We all have mobile phones, but that doesn’t mean we need to answer them every time they ring. If an unfamiliar number pops up on your phone when you’re struggling with traffic or in a loud environment, don’t answer it.

You over share. You’ve been waiting forever to hear from this employer, and you’re so nervous when they ask to schedule an interview, you can’t stop talking. It may be charming if you express excitement about the opportunity to interview, but you’ll start to lose points quickly if you transition into a complaint about how long it took them to get back to you.

You miss key details. Just because you live in Boston and the job is in Miami, don’t assume the interview will be over the phone. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to not assume anything when an employer contacts you.

Don’t schedule anything before you consult your calendar. If you’re currently working, make a point to review your work and coverage schedule to be sure you aren’t getting yourself into a bind in your job.

First impressions last—make sure your target employer’s first impressions of you are positive so you won’t have any ground to make up when you actually interview for the job and you’ll give yourself the best chance possible to win the position.

Read the whole post on U.S. News & World Report.

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photo by marc falardeau

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  • JJ31i

    Once i accepted an interview job without noticing that i’ll be abroad that day. The recriter may see this as a lack of oganization and order.

    emploi casablanca


    Its really a nice article….In our experience, people often get cocky when they hear that they’re having an interview. They automatically start making assumptions, I think they must go through this article and prepare for the interview accordingly.

  • Anam

    Hi Mirium,
    I just did this and I am very frustrated and depressed. The recruiter told me to email him for a date and time for the interview next week. And I said I am actually opened all week and he can contact me anytime. I did not quite follow the instruction but I had no idea about the turn untill I read your article. Is there anyway of communication that I can send the recruiter by emailing him Mirium? I was not being cocky or overwhelmed I was just happy and I guess I expressed that to the recruiter. Please help me. It was my dream job. Thanks a lot for your time.