MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Back now with Day to Day. If you're a new college graduate or a recently fired employee heading into the job market, there are a lot of people out there looking for work, so how to avoid the common interview blunders so you get a leg up on the competition. Here to give you some helpful hints is Day to Day's personal finance contributor, Michelle Singletary. Michelle, what should you do even before you go to the job interview?
MICHELLE SINGLETARY: You know, you need to think of this interview as an audition. That means you need to research the part. So many people show up at job interviews and they haven't done any research on the company, what they do, or even what the job entails. Call someone who's in that job, if not at that company, at another company so that you know what kind of questions that they may ask you.
BRAND: So, the day of - you're there. You're sitting in the chair facing the boss. What should you be doing?
SINGLETARY: Well, the first thing you do is you should be dressed appropriately. Careerbuilder.com found that 51 percent of hiring managers say people come to the job interview inappropriately dressed - with some boobies showing, you know, jeans, like they're going out to a party perhaps. And you want to make that first impression a lasting impression. It's so key with so many people competing for that one job.
BRAND: So some of the most common mistakes people make while interviewing?
SINGLETARY: Forty nine percent of hiring managers decided bad mouthing a former boss as the worst offense. Do not talk bad about your boss, no matter how horrible they were. Just say, you know, things didn't work out. Put a positive spin on it. And 48 percent of hiring managers said that the candidate appeared disinterested during the interview. So you want to be prepared and sit there like you actually want the job. One candidate answered her cell phone during the interview and asked the interviewer to leave her own office.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SINGLETARY: And in a tight job market, you got to come correct. You got to come dressed like you want the job. Be interested. Do research. And certainly, turn off your cell phone.
BRAND: So OK. So we know now what not to do. What are some to do things that you should when you're sitting there?
SINGLETARY: One thing is be yourself. That also means not lying. You know, employers have more resources to check things out. I mean, the internet allows them to, in seconds, look to see if what you're saying is true. So you just want to be honest. You know, you want to accentuate the positive, but you don't want to lie because they can find out.
BRAND: Thanks, Michelle.
SINGLETARY: You're welcome.
BRAND: That's Michelle Singletary. She's our personal finance contributor and she writes "The Color of Money," column for the Washington Post.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.