Connect with us


The biggest job interview mistakes Gen Zers make, from a recruiter: ‘Get dressed’



The biggest job interview mistakes Gen Zers make, from a recruiter: ‘Get dressed’

Emily Levine has been interviewing job candidates for years. Levine joined recruiting firm Career Group Companies in 2010 and is now executive vice president of the company. She’s recruited for real estate, consulting, finance — even some celebrity A-listers looking for personal assistants.

Throughout her more than a decade in the field, she’s seen some wild job interview behavior. And some of the most bizarre instances happened just in the last year while interviewing younger jobseekers, Levine says. A lot of “Gen Z candidates aren’t aware, I’d say, of interview etiquette.”

A few recent examples of what not to do — and what Levine recommends instead.

One took the interview from bed

One of Levine’s colleagues was recently interviewing someone for a personal assistant role. Through her wall, she could hear her colleague asking, “Hi, do you normally take your interviews from bed?”

When she sprinted over to listen to the call, she learned that the candidate had been explaining that she was having a hard time finding a job. When Levine’s colleague said taking your interviews from bed is not a good look, the candidate responded, “when I’m not feeling as lazy, I move to the couch.”

Not only was this candidate being unprofessional in the location she chose to interview from, she was admitting to being lazy.

“That is a candidate that I have very little hope for,” says Levine.

If you’re taking an interview from home, do it at a desk, kitchen table “or any area that has a professional background” and a clean room, she says. If that’s not available to you, try blurring the background or putting up a stock background.

And don’t forget to show enthusiasm. “It’s important to make good eye contact, nod at appropriate times when you agree with what the interviewer is saying,” says Levine. “Make sure to smile as well.”

Candidates have come ‘completely naked on the bottom’

Candidates have also come in various states of undress.

One candidate Levine was interviewing for a variety of potential roles showed up to the Zoom call wearing a bathrobe. Levine was not impressed.

“I think that’s bad judgment,” she says. “And I think it says a lot about the decisions that they make.” If this candidate doesn’t think to put their best foot forward for a potential job, what else would they think is appropriate when they’re actually doing the job?

Needless to say, “she didn’t make the cut.”

Others have shown up in even less, Levine says, sharing that more than one young candidate has worn a work-appropriate top but been “completely naked on the bottom.” She discovered their choice of apparel when they accidentally moved their phone camera.

Most recently, Levine interviewed a young woman for an entry-level HR job having made the same sartorial choice. This time, however, the woman didn’t seem to realize that behind her was a full-length mirror. Which is to say this candidate was mooning Levine the entire conversation.

Levine didn’t last long in the interview — about five minutes altogether, she says. “It was hard to not laugh but also I just felt so uncomfortable.” Once again, this showed bad judgment. “And it’s just super embarrassing.”

What you wear to an interview can depend on the industry you’re interviewing for. “I would recommend wearing a suit and tie to an investment banking interview,” Levine says, “but more professional chic attire to a fashion interview or something more creative.”

Generally speaking, “J.Crew, Theory, Ann Taylor, Suitsupply, Zara, etc. are usually a good idea for inspiration,” she says.

At the very least, though, when it comes to preparing for a job interview, “just, like, get dressed,” Levine says.

Want to land your dream job? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers really look for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Continue Reading