5 Ways to Blow Your Job Interview

A photo of a nervous job interview candidate.
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Congratulations, you've landed a job interview. You may just be one step away from getting a job offer. Avoid these 5 ways of blowing your job interview, which could shatter your career dreams.

Checking Your Phone Constantly

Any good media boss will probably be used to having his or her phone by their side. There are phone calls, texts and breaking news alerts that are coming in. Hopefully, that boss has put his or her phone aside to devote his or her full attention to you during the job interview.

You don't need to check your phone at all during the interview. Not while you're being driven to lunch, not while you're eating, not even when your potential boss may be on the phone himself. First, you want to be mentally focused on having the best media job interview possible. You will lose focus if you start texting friends about your weekend plans.

Also, you want your potential boss to see that you are completely attentive to him and the conversation you are having. You don't want to appear as though you've got more important things to do than to sell yourself for the job. If you absolutely must check your phone, do it in the restroom where you won't be seen, but don't stay in there for long.

Asking About Money Too Soon

Yes, you want to know how much the job pays. Your potential boss is expecting that subject to come up. Let them be the one to talk money first.

If you start talking money too early, you will come off as too aggressive or be too worried about a paycheck and not concerned about your job performance.

Media salaries are all over the map. Entry-level media workers may earn just above minimum wage, while top TV news anchors can easily make six-figures.

You boss has a budget for this position. Let him give you a range. Don't say no immediately if you think the pay is too low. You should have done research beforehand to know what to expect.

Money can be brought up in a follow-up conversation if you think you have a shot at getting higher pay.

Refusing to Do Some Job Tasks

With any job, there are some tasks that are rewarding while others are a pain. But, as this potential job is being described to you, don't say you aren't willing to do parts of it. That may end the job interview within minutes.

Let's say you want to be a TV news reporter. The job requires you to shoot your own video without having your own camera crew.

If you tell your prospective boss you aren't willing to carry and use a video camera, you are showing that you are inflexible. No one wants an employee like that. You are also preventing yourself from doing what you want to do, and that's reporting on TV.

Every job has its downsides. Maybe it's the work schedule or meaningless paperwork to fill out. You won't get very far in media if you hold out for only those jobs that give you exactly what you want.

Focusing Too Much on Advancement

Most bosses like hiring ambitious people. That beats hiring someone who drags into work and doesn't care about moving up or doing more.

It is perfectly natural to ask about advancement opportunities. A radio station might have ways for you to work up to better-paying, higher profile jobs either within the local station or at other stations the company may own across the country.

If you're being offered a behind-the-scenes job, be careful in asking "How long will I have to wait in order to get on the air?" during the interview. Your potential boss has no way of answering that, because it likely would depend on having someone else leave to create an opening, then deciding if you're the best candidate for that job. He won't want to be pushed into a corner and feel pressured to make a commitment to you. He'll just hire someone else.

Mishandling Media Contract Negotiations

Many media jobs come with a fairly standardized media contract. That document provides a road map on what you can expect of your job responsibilities, your pay and any fringe benefits.

Parts of the contract are usually up for negotiation. Your boss has been through this process many times with everyone he's hired.

You will send red flags to him if the first item you want to discuss is how you can break your media contract the moment you find a better job somewhere else. If you're already looking ahead to your next media job, this boss has little incentive to want to hire you for the opening that exists today.

While job interviews can present an awkward courtship routine, by preparing yourself on how you will behave and react to what is said, you can have a successful interview and get the job you've long wanted.

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