The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

April 04, 2017

Professionalism is Power – Four Behavioral Recommendations for Interviewees

Strong job interview performance is an important skill to master. When you fail to adhere to certain standards, “you can inadvertently come across as unprofessional in your job search,” explains workplace and career expert Alison Green in U.S. News and World Report.

Green prepared a list of 10 specific behaviors that repel hiring managers. We’ve reduced Green’s tally to four interpersonal blunders.

Ineffective Communication

Poor communication includes what you say, how you say it, and what you don’t say at all. Candidates are discouraged from sharing extraneous details related to sensitive, personal matters and from veering so far off topic that they lose the interviewer’s interest. Speaking too quickly or mumbling are examples of “how” issues in professional communication. Speaking too quickly or mumbling are examples of “how” one communicates ineffectively. Meanwhile, the inability to say “I don’t know”—e.g. “I’m not familiar with that program,” or “I’ve never been exposed to clients in that industry”—is annoying. Hiring managers expect a truthful answer, not a bluff.

Inadequate Preparation

Failure to prepare for an interview can be visual or invisible. A ruffled resume filled with typos or an unkempt physical are visual indications that you are unprepared. A late arrival is similarly disrespectful. A lack of preparation is also evident in a candidate’s failure to research key elements of the business or to ask intelligent questions.

Negative Attitude

A job interview is usually an opportunity to make a first impression. Job seekers are encouraged to show the best sides of themselves in said meeting. This includes every interaction starting with the Receptionist and throughout the interview with Human Resources, the hiring manager, or senior-level management. Steer clear of bashing your present employer. When asked why you’re looking to leave your current position, cite evolving professional interests or ambitions, rather than grievances with your current company. Lastly, showcase your positive attitude with gratitude at the conclusion of the meeting.

Impersonal Demeanor

Can’t let your personality show. Employers hire for cultural, not just technical competencies. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, rather than a stiff, dull, humorless person. To come across as a personable candidate, use inviting body language like smiling and leaning forward during the conversation. Be prepared to speak about your ideal work environment and to share examples of how coworkers and supervisors would describe you.

Any doubts about your professionalism will hinder your candidacy. Soft skills sometimes override technical competencies and years of experience in an employer’s final decision. Thus, refining your professional demeanor can only help you in the interview process.

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