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How To Bomb Your Next Face-To-Face Job Interview

So your resume attracted someone enough to grant you a job interview. Congratulations! You must have a reasonably good résumé to pull that off.

Now you get to “audition” for the job. Will you be as dazzling as was your résumé? Time will tell.

Many job interviews still take place over the phone or in an online environment, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom or some similar platform. But in this post-Covid world, more and more job interviews are being done in person. Sadly, many job candidates find success in securing the face-to-face interview, only to fall on their swords once they arrive for the big event.

It’s true – many candidates truly bomb their interview in spectacular ways. If that is your goal, continue to read. Here is how many a job candidate blows their interview.

  • Fail to map out exactly where the location of the place where the interview will be held. This can be accomplished by not asking specific questions as to location, parking, etc. And certainly, do not do any advanced reconnaissance such as doing a trial run of driving to the location prior to the actual day of the interview. And for good measure, don’t use GPS and don’t account for bad traffic, SIG Alerts, etc. In fact, don’t be punctual – that’s so boomer. . . Be fashionably late instead. That will endow you with the aura that your time is at a premium and you show up places when it’s convenient for you. They can wait.
  • Show up without hard copies of your résumé, after all, you already sent a copy of your résumé electronically. That must mean that everyone who is supposed to interview you that day should have taken the time to download and print out a hard copy of your résumé. If they didn’t do that, that’s on them. Not your responsibility. And certainly don’t bring extra copies of your résumé. If they told you to bring 3 copies because you will be interviewed by a three people, only bring 3 copies. After all, that’s what they told you. If a 4th person decides to interview at the last minute, well, that’s not your issue. They should get it together and know in advance how many people are actually going to interview you. Be inflexible. If they wanted you to bring four copies, they should have told you.
  • When you get to the location and walk into their lobby, be curt and dismissive of the receptionist. Turn off your charm. After all, this is business. No need to schmooze with low-level workers. Only the highest level executives are worthy of your respect and deference. That doesn’t include low-wage workers like custodial staff, admins, or receptionists.
  • During the interview, when you are given an opportunity to ask questions, be sure to pose questions whose answers you easily could have gleaned from a search of the company’s website, such as what industry they are in, who their CEO is, what their core values are, and who their competitors consist of. Such questions will make you look as if you are truly interested and curious about the organization that is interviewing you.
  • And when you answer their questions, be sure to give vague generalities that are either long-winded and rambling, or short and clipped with no substantive content. Nothing specific. Platitudes. Go with platitudes. And if you don’t truly understand a question, don’t expose your own ignorance. Instead, pretend you do understand and go right ahead and make up an answer that you think could be plausible.
  • As the interview winds down, under no circumstances should you express strong interest in working for the organization, lest you come off sounding too eager. Instead, play hard to get; feign disinterest. That might cause them to offer you more money. And by all means, don’t bother asking for clarification on next steps, timelines for their decision, etc.
  • Finally, after you depart from the interview and blow past the receptionist, don’t feel the need to mail a thank you card to the person or persons who interviewed you. You don’t want to appear desperate by engaging in such a ploy. Saying “Thank You” is kind of outdated anyway. Just know that if it’s meant to be, they will contact you, so there’s no need to contact them.

Following those guidelines will ensure you never get a single job offer.

But if you actually want to land the job for some strange, inexplicable reason, then do the opposite of everything I’ve outlined above. You will very likely bend the odds in your favor.

Ara Norwood is a multi-faceted and results-oriented professional. Spanning a multiplicity of disciplines including leadership, management, innovation, strategy, service, sales, business ethics, and entrepreneurship. Ara is also a historian, having special expertise on the era of the founding of our republic.
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