Helen, Springfield College student (Springfield, MA)
“I say words I shouldn’t. For example, during an interview, I said ‘like’ and ‘um’ far too much. I felt pressured so I started to utter those words while attempting to circle back to my thoughts. It was horrible.
I’ve heard from interviewers that those words make you look less intelligent. I now practice a little before an interview so I can relax a bit more and not say the word ‘um’ five times over.”
Andrew, University of Arizona student (Tucson, AZ)
“One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made on an interview was to keep talking when I should have stopped. The interviewed ended with, ‘tell us about a time you were generous with somebody.’ Of course, I wanted to answer the question as best as I possibly could — so I started to tell a story. As I told the story, the interviewer’s facial expression was blank. I kept talking and talking, still nothing. So, I started to escalate the story. At the end of the interview, I just remember walking out like, ‘wow, none of that was even true.’
I was telling the story just to see if I could get a smile, but the interviewer didn’t budge. Now, I don’t read too much into the interviewer’s body language or facial expressions. On the inside they could be loving everything you’re saying. As long as it’s the truth, no matter what their expression, you will feel good when you leave.”
Sawyer, Make-A-Wish Volunteer Manager (Scottsdale, AZ)
“I conduct phone screens for potential interns and volunteers, as a way to personalize the first interaction with them and see what they are like person-to-person.
I once had a candidate hang up in the middle of a phone screen. At first, I considered it was maybe a lost connection, but after a few times dialing the number back… I never heard from them again. Not a great impression. I also am put off when someone asks me to tell them what position the phone call is regarding. I have had intern candidates ask me, ‘what position is this for again?’ during a phone screen. Never ever make the mistake of failing to remember who you are speaking with and why. It makes you, the candidate, look less interested and careless about the opportunity.”
Taylor, Arizona State University student (Tempe, AZ)
“Interviewing for one of my first jobs ever, I checked online and it said the store was only about 10 minutes away from where I lived. Just to be safe, I left 30 minutes before my scheduled interview time but I hadn’t planned for construction traffic.
I was 25 minutes late for my interview and completely embarrassed. I should have checked my maps on my cell phone before driving to my interview. Now, I always go online to check traffic. And I always leave early for an interview just in case!”
Arin Lopez, Volunteer Manager (Scottsdale, AZ)
“I’ve conducted several interviews and I’ve pretty much heard it all. Some negative things I have heard in the past are questions like,
‘How much vacation time is there?”
‘How strict are you with being on time?”
‘Do you have Wi-Fi?”
‘When can I start using vacation time?”
‘How long is lunch?”
‘Will I be drug tested?’
All of these are red flags. I’m always shocked when these questions come up because I feel that walking into an interview, you should be prepared and as professional as possible. I also believe that you should always have a few questions for your interviewer. A question like, ‘What does the ideal candidate for this position look like?’ shows honest interest to the position and shows the employer you wish to be that ideal candidate.”
If you’re looking for an internship at Make-A-Wish Arizona, you can apply here.