I spent one day last week at a conference with college recruiters. Throughout the day, I was able to ask some of them what they thought the biggest mistakes college grads make on job interviews. These responses are in no way a scientific collection of data but anecdotal comments that were repeatedly made.
1. First and foremost, college grads do not pay enough attention to their online presence. Facebook, thought by most to be personal, is open season to recruiters. The recruiters I spoke with were amazed that job candidates did not take the time to clean up their sites.
2. Next, college grads need to realize that the interview starts when you walk into the building, not when you are in the recruiter’s office. This means no cell phones or texting in the lobby, being polite and professional to everyone you encounter as well as putting away the ipod or mp3 player.
3. Recruiters and greeters at job fairs are not a candidate’s peer. They are sizing up a candidate. Their job is to find people who will fit in with the culture, not looking to make friends.
4. Rather than asking for clarification if they don’t understand a question, recent grads seem to feel the need to make up an answer. It’s OK to be nervous and to ask for clarification. Recruiters won’t think the candidate is being “stupid”; rather, when a candidate asks for clarification, it demonstrates what that candidate will do in the workplace if they don’t understand something.
5. Finally, another common complaint was the lack of prepared questions for the recruiter during the interview. Candidates should be prepared with 2 or 3 questions to ask that pertain to the job and to the organization