As legal recruiters, we regularly hear of horrific interviews that have gone badly wrong and these are some of the things that people have turned up with and seriously affected their chances of success.
1) Their Mother.
We have actually had instances of candidates turning up to job interviews with their mother in tow and both sitting in the reception area of the company or firm they are interviewing with and becoming the source of great fascination amongst the staff. Why on earth would anyone take their mother to a job interview? But it happens. If your mother has given you a lift to the location or offices of the firm you are interviewing with, then park her in the local Costa Coffee. Do not for a second think it is a good idea to let her come into the building with you when you are attending for an interview. It is a terrible idea and one to be avoided like the plague.
2) A naff carrier bag
|Your choice of carrier bag can|
affect the outcome of a job
Feedback on a couple of interviews in recent years has been that they like the candidate and thought they were very friendly but their appearance was awful. This included the Lidl carrier bag they were carrying their stuff in. Not only had it indicated that particular candidate's shopping habits, which some would say are tasteful and others would be horrified by, it also indicates a lack of preparation in that the candidate hasn't got a smart bag to take with them to professional meetings. How will this candidate be when speaking to clients of the firm or company they are interviewing with?
3) Odd socks
Your clothing really does matter for interview. If you have odd socks on and you cross your legs as a man, and the firm see the odd socks, then unless it is a clear fashion statement it is very likely that they are going to hold this against you. Similarly, wearing jeans and a t-shirt to an office based interview is definitely not a good idea, neither is turning up in a cap. Similarly, you can be overdressed. We have heard of people turning up for job interviews wearing a suit, but also having a waistcoat, bow-tie and a cumberband. Whilst this look may be fantastic for dinner parties or balls, it is definitely not a good idea for job interviews.
It will probably pain a lot of people to hear this but there are still considerable numbers of employers out there who regard tattoos as a sign of the devil and are very unlikely to employ you if they spot one. It is understandable that if you have 'Kill' tattooed across your knuckles or a picture of an angel tattooed across your forehead it is not going to be very easy to hide these blemishes. However, if you have a picture of Popeye on your forearm and have the option to wear a long-sleeved shirt, then it might well be worth considering wearing the long-sleeved shirt for the interview. No doubt in time this taboo will end as the vast majority of people under the age of 25 seem to have a tattoo somewhere on their person and employers will have to move with the times. However, as it stands tattoos are not a good idea to keep visible.
5) A Big Mac Happy Meal from McDonalds.
When you attend a job interview, it is more than understandable that beforehand you want to make sure you have got plenty of energy to stay alert and awake and keep focused. But whilst eating a Big Mac Happy Meal from McDonalds is probably not going to give you the same boost as a banana and a bag of nuts, there are those who would find this a comfort before attending a job interview. However, walking into the buildings of the company who are interviewing you and asking if there is somewhere you can put your Big Mac Happy Meal bag is not to be recommended. It does not go down well with the employer who no doubt will find out about it when the secretary or receptionist expresses horror that you have deposited the said item with them.
So there we have it, 5 items not to take to a job interview if you can help it. Don't forget to switch off your mobile phone. Good luck!
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.