Every second counts to make a strong first impression during a job interview. Interviewers will pay attention to even minor details such as your posture and eye contact as they determine whether or not you’re a good fit for the role.
One particular slip-up, however, could knock you out of the running for your dream job — and it’s a mistake that, surprisingly, a lot of candidates make, Amazon senior recruiter DJ Cabeen tells CNBC Make It. “My biggest pet peeve is when candidates use curse words or inappropriate language during an interview,” he says. “It’s a major turnoff, it does not go over well or feel professional at all.”
It’s not a mistake specific to younger, less experienced candidates either. “I’ve been recruiting for more than 10 years at this point and I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve had with candidates where they use curse words,” Cabeen says. “It’s not just entry-level candidates, it’s also older, very experienced candidates I’ve spoken to, it runs the whole gamut of tenure.”
Another common gaffe Cabeen has noticed during interviews is candidates showing up without knowing basic information about the team or role they’re applying for. “Doing your homework and preparing well for these interviews is something I also unfortunately don’t see a lot of people do,” he says. “But researching the company, the team and the interviewer is a really important step and an easy way to stand out in the application process.”
Amazon offers several free resources to guide applicants applying for open roles at the tech giant on its Amazon Jobs website, “Inside Amazon” YouTube channel and LinkedIn feed about best interviewing practices. Cabeen recommends people interested in working for Amazon study the company’s leadership principles as hiring managers use them to assess candidates throughout the interview process. “We really want to see that the experience a candidate brings to the table really aligns with our leadership principles, like ownership, frugality and being curious, because those are really the foundation of who we are as a company,” Cabeen says.
Cabeen recommends another easy way to stand out in any job interview: find something in common with the interviewer, such as a favorite hobby or a place where you’ve both lived. “It’s those little connection points that make the conversation feel more comfortable and show me people really took the time to prepare for this interview, which always really impresses me,” he says. “It also puts me more at ease because interviewers get nervous for these conversations, too, even though we do them all day long!”
Job seekers can explore more than 40,000 corporate and tech roles as well as thousands of operations roles at Amazon during the tech giant’s virtual career fair on September 15. The event is part of a larger push by Amazon to fill 55,000 roles in those sectors globally in the coming months, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told Reuters. The new hires would represent a 20% increase in Amazon’s tech and corporate staff.