Biggest Interview Misstep: Being Clueless about the Employer

August 24, 2006 ( - It may sound like a statement of the obvious, but knowing a good bit about a prospective employer can help you land a role with that firm, according to a new survey.

According to a press release, the poll of 150 executives by Accountemps, a financial services staffing firm, found that nearly half of those surveyed ranked a candidate having hardly any or no knowledge of the prospective employer at the top of their list of job interview no-nos. Respondents were with the human resources, finance and marketing departments of their companies.

Other responses when the executives were asked to list the biggest interview mistakes included:

  • Unprepared to discuss skills and experience – 17%
  • Unprepared to discuss career plans and goals – 9%
  • Limited enthusiasm – 9%
  • Lack of eye contact – 3%
  • Monopolize interview – 2%
  • Focus on salary/benefits/perks – 2%
  • Lack of self-confidence – 2%
  • Inappropriate dress – 2%
  • Late arrival – 2%
  • Don’t know/no answer – 5%

“Candidates should learn as much as they can about a company before meeting a prospective employer,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, in the release. “The most successful applicants will have a beyond-the-basics understanding of the firm, including its history, chief competitors and business objectives. Armed with this knowledge, job hopefuls should be able to describe how their skills and experience can help the business reach its goals.”