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13 Things to Never Do in a Job Interview

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With so much competition for every job opening, it can be hard to land a job interview.

To build momentum and increase your chances of getting a job offer, make sure not to do any of the following mistakes during a job interview.

1. Be late

The first impression that the hiring manager will have about you is directly related to you being punctual or not.

The best time to arrive at a job interview is 10 minutes before your meeting. This will allow you to catch a breath before going in, while also being able to prepare things such as your resume, portfolio, and anything else that you might need during your job interview.

Of course, unexpected events can happen and for those situations, you need to be prepared, before heading towards your meeting.

You need to have the address of the company, phone number and email address of the person that will be interviewing you, so that you can contact them in case you might be late.

A professional call, announcing you will be late can go a long way.

2. Forget the name of the person you will be meeting with

Depending on who invited you for the job interview, a recruiter, an HR Assistant or the Hiring Manager directly, you absolutely need to know their name beforehand.

If you were not contacted directly by the person who will be interviewing you, you can just ask your contact person what is the name and position of the person that you will be meeting.

Knowing their name and position is great for 2 reasons.

First, you will be able to greet them by their name “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Smith”.

This helps build rapport, as people are more open when hearing their name.

Second, you will be able to research them before your meeting and find information that might be useful for a conversation starter, such as things in common.

3. Attend a job interview without preparing

One of the most crucial aspects of acing a job interview is to prepare for it.

A thorough research about the company, its current and past employees and the role you have applied to, will help you feel more confident and position yourself better according to the company’s requirements.

Not knowing anything about the company that you will be interviewing with, will blow your chances of getting the job, even if you meet all the criteria.

Hiring Managers are mostly put off by candidates who come to the interview unprepared.

4. Dress inappropriately

If you prepared for your job interview (point 2.), you should be able to have a good understanding of the company culture. This will help you know how to dress for your meeting.

You need to keep in mind that being overdressed is as equally uncomfortable as it is being underdressed.

5. Forget to switch your phone to silent

Being respectful can take you very far.

One way to show respect is by switching your phone to silent and paying attention to the person or persons that you are meeting with.

6. Forget to smile

A smile is contagious and if you greet your interviewer with a smile, this helps release the tension and make way for a friendly and smooth job interview.

The person who will be interviewing you might be the person you will be reporting to, should you get the job, so you want to make sure that they perceive you as a friendly and approachable person.

7. Badmouth your current or past employer

Sure, when someone is looking for a new job opportunity it is often because of their employer or manager. People don’t leave a job if they are happy.

Whatever it is that is bothering you about your employer or manager, keep it to yourself.

Never talk bad about them, as this puts off any recruiter. You might be doing the same if they hire you and after a while, you decide to change jobs again and nobody wants to be bad mouthed.

Be diplomatic when answering any questions about your current employer and have your answers prepared, especially to questions such as “Why are you leaving your current job?”.

8. Be arrogant

You might have an impressive Resume and be extremely skilled but nobody wants to work with someone who’s arrogant.

You can be confident, however, there’s a thin line between being confident and being arrogant.

Make sure you don’t cross it.

9. Make it about you

While, yes, job interviews are meant to help recruiters find as much as possible about a candidate, you need to keep in mind that whatever skills or experience you might have, if they are not related to the job you are interviewing for, they are worthless.

When discussing past experiences, make sure that those experiences and skills translate to this job, so that the hiring manager will understand that you are right for this position.

Also, your achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the team you were part of, so make sure you give credit to other people, not only to yourself.

A great way to do that is by replacing “Me” with “We” or “The team that I’ve worked with”. Hiring Managers appreciate someone who’s honest.

10. Lack motivation or enthusiasm

Someone who does not show enthusiasm or motivation is a big no-no for hiring managers, as that means that maybe the only incentive is the salary.

If the salary is the only reason why you want that job, you might leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along, as opposed to someone who might be motivated by the company values, its mission, and vision or other things alike.

11. Lie

Many people think about themselves as being good liars, however, hiring managers can smell a lie from miles.

Don’t try to lie, as even if your lie will go undetected, you might end up in a situation that you can’t handle.

If, for example, you lie about your past and the responsibilities you’ve handled, you pass the interview and get the job, you’ll end up in a job where you won’t be able to deliver and that will cause you more harm than good. It’s always better to be frank in order to avoid such situations.

12. Talk about money

During the first job interview or first stages of the recruitment process, it is unprofessional to discuss money, unless you are being asked about your salary expectations.

Avoid inquiring about company perks and benefits, as this leads to point 9, the recruiter assuming your only motivation is the salary.

13. Forget to ask questions

At the end of the job interview, the hiring manager will give you the opportunity to ask questions in return.

Make sure you have researched the company before your meeting and have prepared a set of questions to ask the person you will be interviewing with.

You might do great during an interview but forgetting to ask questions will minimize your chances of getting the job.

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Forrest Webber

Forrest Webber, I hope you will enjoy reading and applying the things that I am teaching through my articles.While working for 12 years in different fields and 9 different countries, I came across different cultures and different work environments.

12 thoughts on “13 Things to Never Do in a Job Interview”

  1. Some of the things you mention are so logical and yet we forget all about their importance. I would suggest all people preparing for an interview to read your highly commendable post.

    Reply
  2. Really great tips of what no to do on a job interview. I recently had an interview for a new position, I incorporated some of tips list and they definitely helped. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. How would you know about the company culture if you’ve never been there before and the only opportunity you have before going to the interview to find out anything about the company is to look at a website that doesn’t show any photos of the people there (which wouldn’t necessarily show how employees ordinarily dress) or anything that really tells what the company culture is like?

    Unfortunately, the only real way to “find out about the company culture” in advance is to actually visit the workplace and see with your own eyes and ears what the culture is like, and you usually can’t do that without an appointment and a genuine reason for being there. Unfortunately, this is not usually possible for most interviewees.

    So that’s one piece of advice I think doesn’t work. All you can do is dress professionally. If that’s out of line with the company’s culture and they make a hiring decision based on that, then it’s not the right place for you.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer! Thanks for your comment. I understand what you are saying. You can learn tons about the company culture of a company nowadays. Social media is a great place to get to know about company events, employees, etc. The whole point in knowing this information is to help you, as a candidate, dress appropriately. You don’t want to be either underdressed nor overdressed. If the company you have applied to, for example, is a startup, you don’t want to show up for your interview wearing a suit. That will make you feel uncomfortable and even if the hiring manager doesn’t care what you are wearing, as long as you are professional, your performance might be affected because you’re just not comfortable wearing a suit when, maybe the person interviewing you is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I hope this makes sense.

      Reply

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