Whether you have decades of experience in the job market or you are newly graduated and striking out on your own, having the skills you need to for performing well in a job interview are critical to your success. You’ve worked hard for the skills you have and you want the quality of your resume to shine through, so don’t let your interview behavior get in the way of your qualifications. This segment of Ask a Recruiter is dedicated to describing some of the things that may lead a recruiter to miss your name on the interview call back list.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” – Professional Demeanor

Were you prepared for this interview?  Were you on time? Did you do your research on the company and were you knowledgeable about the position.  How did you look?  Although being professionally dressed for an interview may seem common knowledge, the data suggests otherwise. No, this isn’t about fashion, this is about professional demeanor. How you present yourself, in your actions, preparedness, attire, and language all reflect upon the company you want to work for. Consider if your positions were reversed, would you want you, on your team?

“The truth will set you free” – There’s a difference between selling yourself, and selling your soul

Although there’s nothing wrong with “selling yourself” in an interview, exaggerating, omitting or openly lying about your experience and skill sets will get you nowhere. This covers not just what appears on your paper resume, but how you describe those FACTS in your interview. There’s plenty of room to be honest about your previous experiences, but remember to be discrete especially when asked difficult questions like why did you leave your last job.  If you were let go, simply state that it was not the right fit whether it was related to a skills mismatch or bad environment. The interview is not the time to express angry feelings regarding your past employers, nor the time to speak ill of your previous company or managers. Instead, focus on what you learned in that position and how you plan to utilize the experience in your next position.

Save your fights over politics and religion for family gatherings – Keep your politics in the voting booth

Personal politics, religion, philosophical beliefs outside of work ethics, and the like have no place in a job interview. Occasionally a candidate comments about how the economy is so terrible followed by…”if only President So and So would get their act together”.   This may catch the hiring manager off guard, or worse, rub a hiring manager the wrong way. Although there’s a chance you have similar water-cooler views, why risk your opportunity during the interview.

“It’s not you, it’s me” – Hiring managers are people too

You’ve taken all the steps and hit all the checkboxes to nail the interview. Then you wait, and wait, and wait. No call – what happened? You may be the victim of a saturated candidate pool, and although someone may not have been hired while you are waiting, there may be so many candidates to sort through your follow up call will take time. This is very common with in-demand IT positions. With no mitigating circumstances like a saturated candidate pool, you can attribute it to the hiring manager. Interviewers may not be the best at relaying bad news.   Although there is no excuse for the lack of follow-up, these things happen.  Don’t get discouraged.  Every interview teaches, and persistence is key. Don’t get hung up on why you didn’t get a callback.  Rather, focus on preparing for the next interview.