Don’t take your mom (and other tips for your first job interview)

first job interview

Your very first job interview is scary. I get it. Not knowing what's in store is kind of terrifying. You can do all the research and practice answering common interview questions, but going in for the first time is like going on a first date…you are excited, nervous, and not sure what to expect.

Hopefully you know this, but a job interview is important and should be treated as such. No matter how entry-level the position is or how much the job will pay, you need to put in the effort to make a good impression with the employer. You might not know where your career path will take you, but it all starts with that very first job interview.

Snagajob recently asked hourly employers, "What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen in a job interview?" and got some very…interesting…answers. But there were also some major themes we wanted to warn you about.

Leave the family at home

A surprising amount of employers commented that candidates brought people with them to the interview. There was everything from parents, children, spouses and even pets.

I completely understand that there are circumstances that require the need to be dropped off, but let it end there. Get dropped off and have them wait in the car or run errands while you're interviewing. Nothing more awkward than your mom peaking in the interview to check on you and ask the interviewer if you're doing a good job (true story).

And don't bring your dog to a job interview. Just don't.

Don't wear your "lazy" shirt

No surprise here – many employers noted that interviewees were not dressed appropriately for the interview. This has been something we've been hearing for years, and something that needs to be addressed.

There were many mentions of visible tattoos and inappropriate outfits – including swimsuits, a batman costume, and t-shirts that said "psyco" and "lazy." No matter how casual the work environment is, you are still going to a job interview and need to look professional.

Do yourself a favor and visit the location before the interview to get a sense of how the current employees are dressing. Do they have body art showing? Visible piercings? Use these cues when putting together your interview outfit.

Take mom's advice and mind your manners

This should go without saying, but apparently is something that many interviewees need to be reminded of…be considerate.

Employers say that many job applicants show up to interviews late, chewing gum, picking at their nails, looking bored and texting. We even heard a story about an someone who started painting her nails in the middle of the interview! Now unless you're applying to be a manicurist you should really wait until you're home to start using beauty products.

There is no excuse for this. All of these behaviors are insulting and gives the employer an idea of how seriously you would take the job and how you would treat their customers. Think about the last time you tried to talk to someone about something important. How would you feel if that person was texting, sighing and putting on makeup?

Also, that phone call can wait until after the interview is over. Better yet, just leave your phone in the car. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Put in some effort

If you're interviewing for your very first job ever, there's a pretty good chance this is an entry level or hourly position. But you still need to take this seriously. Employers want to hire those who are excited about the job and passionate about the company.

A lot of employers told us that job candidates are unprepared and don't know anything about the position or company. This tells them you might not be that into the job…and just a little lazy.

I actually interviewed someone once for a video producer position and when I asked what she liked about our current videos, the applicant couldn't answer because she hadn't seen any of them. All it would have taken was a simple search of our website, or even Google, and 10 minutes of watching some videos to get an idea of what she was interviewing for. Examples like that let the interviewer know that you don't really care that much about the job.

Carve out some time before the interview and visit that company's website to get a sense of what they're all about. Check out the "About Us" page to see what they're passionate about and how you could fit in.

Try to remain calm…or at least pretend

Employers are people too and understand that job interviews can be scary and just a little nerve wracking. So they will probably understand if you stumble through a few answers or come across as a little nervous.

But we heard examples from employers of their interviewees having panic attacks, excessive sweating and lots of crying because things didn't seem to be going well. This just makes things awkward and you'll be remembered by the company for all the wrong reasons.

One of the best ways to remain calm before and during an interview is to set up mock interviews before the big day. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member; this will make you confident that you know what they're looking for. In addition, herbal tea is known to relax muscles and when added with some deep breathing exercises, you're sure to calm yourself down when the nerves start to kick in.

On the flipside, don't try to calm yourself with alcohol. Employers reported some interviewees showing up intoxicated to job interviews. I don't need to tell you why that's not okay.

Everyone's been through a scary job interview at some point in their life…including the person interviewing you. Keep in mind that a job interview should go both ways, you're also interviewing them to see if you want to work there.

Avoid the most common, and obvious, job interview mistakes so you can concentrate on the job itself and the employer can get a good sense if you'd fit in…and not only think about how you brought your cat to the interview.


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