Working in IT staffing, we have seen it all when it comes to interviews. Any one of the items on this list is a big red flag when you’re interviewing for a job. You don’t want to distract the interviewer from seeing your best qualities. Avoid these no-nos and you will have the best chance of getting the interviewer to focus on your potential to be a great addition to their company.
1) Be over confident: The hiring manager has read your resume and thinks you may be qualified for the job. Don’t blow your interview by acting like you already have the job. Your skills, personality and fit with the company is still being determined.
2) Dress inappropriately: Even if you haven’t been told to dress up, assume that you are expected to look professional, no matter what position you are interviewing for. Dressing up shows respect to the interviewer for the opportunity you that you are being presented.
3) Omit personal hygiene: Bad breath and body odour is something every recruiter has dealt with in at least one interview. Be mindful of your hygiene when coming in for an interview.
4) Interrupt the interviewer: Don’t chime in with an answer before the interviewer has finished asking the question. Wait until you’ve heard the full question, then reply. Listening intently while someone is talking shows respect for the person speaking.
5) Take a phone call: This happens so often, yet is probably the most avoidable no-no. Turn off your cell phone before going into an interview.
6) Chew gum or candy: Chewing gum or a mint before an interview is good if you are concerned about bad breath. However, discreetly throw your gum out as you enter an office, or go to the bathroom before an interview and throw it out. You want to be able to speak clearly during your interview when answering questions.
7) Spray perfume or cologne right before entering the interview: While good hygiene is important, and appreciated, during an interview, spraying yourself with too much perfume or cologne can be overwhelming. It’s better not to wear any perfume or cologne, especially since some work environments do not allow them.
8 ) Go off on a tangent: Try to give succinct answers. Don’t get distracted and talk off-point. Stay on topic, answer the question as best you can, and try to keep it short.
9) Bring food or drinks to an interview: If you haven’t had breakfast, eat a granola bar on the way to the interview, but don’t pull it out in the interview. They may offer coffee or water at the interview, but don’t ask for a drink unless it’s offered. You are here for an interview, and can always grab a meal after it’s over.
10) Mention you have other interviews: You may be interviewing for other jobs, but if you want this job, you shouldn’t be telling the interviewer you have other options lined up. You want to appear dedicated to the job you are interviewing for, even if it’s not your number one choice.
11) Be unprepared: Do a little research on the company and think about what they might ask you. Come up with a few things to ask the interviewer as well.
12) Ask about benefits and vacation time: If you receive a job offer after the interview, you will have a chance to ask about these things before signing an offer. Tell the interviewer what you can do for the company, rather than the other way around.
13) Bad mouth past employers: Doing this doesn’t make you look good in the eyes of a future employer. All they will think about is what you might say about them in the future.
14) Answer a different question than you were asked: Pay attention to the question. Mishearing a question and saying the wrong thing is normal in daily life, but in an interview, when you are being compared to other candidates, it could be the difference between you or someone else getting the job. Ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify a question if you didn’t hear or understand it the first time.
15) Provide answers that are too short: Elaborate on important details when answering a question. You don’t want to make the interviewer feel like they are pulling teeth to get the facts out of you.
16) Give answers that are too long: There is no place for longwinded answers in the interview. Provide an informative, fact-filled answer, but keep it as short and to the point as possible.
17) Present bad body language: We’ve had many people come in to interviews that slumped over in their seats or didn’t make eye contact. Body language can exude confidence and having good posture and making eye contact is the best way to show that.
18) Make yourself too comfortable: Putting your feet up, sitting leaned back in your chair is a big no-no (Yes, people do these things).
19) Appear disinterested: You are here because you want the job, right? Look like it by making eye contact, listening intently, and paying attention. Don’t look at your watch like you have somewhere more important to be.
20) Remember to thank the interviewer Thank the interviewer at the the beginning and end of the interview. Thank them by email after you leave. Remind them of a few things you discussed that make you even more excited about the company and job. Your gratitude sets you apart from other candidates who may come across as entitled. It shows that you’re a polite, conscientious person who appreciates other people’s time.
While doing the above things won’t necessarily result in not getting a job, remember that you are being compared to other candidates. You want to stand out for the right reasons including your skills, experience and personality, not one of the items listed above.
Is there anything you’ve witnessed as a hiring manager that didn’t make the list? Let’s turn the table. What are some things that interviewers should avoid doing?
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