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What Not To Do In An Interview

If you’re in the market for a new job, you know that one of the most important aspects of getting the job you want is the interview.

We recently wrote a blog about some best practices for “selling” yourself and your skills, and how to ensure you do everything possible to nail a job interview – and today we are bringing you some great tips on what to stay away from!

Gray cat with red bow tie

Here’s what Not To Do if you want to have a more successful interview:

Come Late or Too Early

Believe us, your interviewer will notice even a few minutes of tardiness – and it will likely give the impression that you lack the organizational skills, discipline and professionalism to show up when you say you will, as well as enough respect for his or her time. While certain circumstantial tardiness can be understandable, not calling your interviewer to let them know you will be late and not apologizing for being late when you arrive is unacceptable.

Did you know that there’s also such a thing as showing up too early for a job interview? So, unless the company specifically tells you that it’s okay to show up early, a good rule of thumb is to come in and introduce yourself no earlier than 10 minutes before your interview time. Basically, you don’t want to seem like you have too much time on your hands, and you don’t want to become an unexpected nuisance if no one is available to greet you or show you where to wait.

Exhibit Negative Body Language

Make sure you are not fidgeting, slouching, leaning back, crossing your arms, not making good eye contact, not smiling, or displaying disinterest through your posture etc. Such body language can signal to the interviewer that you might be a distracting or distracted person who’s having hard a time focusing, is not interested enough, or is hiding something.

Also, looking at your watch during an interview gives an impression that you are unable to focus, don’t show respect for the person interviewing you, and that you have “better” things to do and places to be.

Be Untruthful

The golden rule of thumb is: never lie in the interview. Even if you don’t get caught during the interview, it never serves you right. The interviewer may ask you to elaborate on your lie, which could end up putting you in a very bad situation that you cannot dig yourself out of. Or, the interviewer may even sense that something is off and that you’re not being totally genuine. Either way, it would impact their general impression of you as a candidate or hurt you later on should you somehow get the job.

Have A Negative Demeanor

During the interview, your personality is being assessed together with your skills, knowledge and experience. So be conscious not to get defensive or negative about anything you’re asked about – instead, demonstrate that you’re a person who thinks and acts positively, even in the face of conflict and difficult topics.

Lack Enthusiasm

One of the big mistakes you can make as a candidate is not being excited and enthusiastic about the company’s mission and vision.

Be Desperate

Even if you are really desperate for a job, do not show up showing desperation. The interviewer will question your overall self-confidence, composure, and how much you care whether the opportunity is truly a good a fit for you.

At the same time, don’t be shy to reiterate what you have to offer – just do it in a grounded and centered manner.

Be Clueless About the Company

Don’t come unprepared – it’s a huge turn-off when the candidate doesn’t take the time to learn about a company before coming in. After all, how can you reasonably expect to articulate what skills and traits you have that fit the position or the needs of the company if you haven’t done your homework properly before the interview.

Dodge Questions/Give Canned Answers

The interviewer may ask you some very challenging questions, such as to describe a time in which you failed, something you aren’t proud of, or a personal weakness – don’t avoid them or give fake, inauthentic answers. Share an honest failure or weakness and the lessons you’ve learned or how it has changed the way you think, show up, and work.

Throw Anyone Under The Bus

No matter what happened in the past, avoid placing blame on others for things that happened in your work history – complaining and dwelling on negative experiences will not get you anywhere.

Even if you are/were working for a very difficult person, if you throw them under the bus, your interviewer may wonder: how did you fail to communicate effectively with that person or reach a resolution? If asked why you left your employer or why you’re exploring other opportunities, share honest reasons without being negative about anyone.

Disclose Personal and Protected information

You should not be asked about your race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability status, citizenship, or genetic information, nor should you be asked about your marital status, if you have children, or plan to start a family soon.

Also – you should never willingly offer up information that might result in unintentional discrimination, so avoid over-disclosing.

Discuss Money Too Early

Don’t rush into asking about salary and benefits – there will be plenty of time to discuss specifics after you receive the job offer. Those questions are important, yet you don’t want to come off as more driven by money than passion and meaningful work.

Dress Inappropriately

Since different companies in various industries will have their own standards for appropriate attire nowadays, your best bet is to ask the hiring manager or another contact at the company about the specifics and their preference. The thing is, some interviewers will actually prefer that candidates not wear a suit to their interview. However, always avoid the wrinkled, torn, faded, or too-revealing clothing.

Another thing not to wear is strong (or even any) perfume or cologne – interview rooms can be very small, the interviewer can be sensitive or even allergic to certain scents, and the scent can be too distracting.

Use Your Cellphone/Leave It On

Yes, we are all guilty of being glued to our smart devices at times, but make sure that’s not during your interview. It can reflect poorly on you, showing that you lack the ability to focus, boundaries, and respect for the interviewer.

Also, simply having your phone on and hearing beeps and other various noises coming from your pocket is a big No-No.

Forget Copies of Your Resume

Don’t assume an interviewer has a copy of your resume handy, no matter how many times you’ve sent it – you don’t want them to have to search their inboxes through thousands of applications to find your resume.

Also, don’t forget to bring a pen, a list of references and directions, and do bring several copies of your resume as you often meet new people during your interview.

We hope that keeping these tips in mind will help you better prepare for your next interview!

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