The 14 worst things you can say or do during a job interview
A job interview is a common form of assessment used in the recruitment process. It typically consists of a short conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee, but can also include other people such as peers or recruiters. The interviewee (i.e., job candidate) will usually have prepared answers for common questions. They may have already been asked similar questions during earlier interviews for this position, in which case they may have standard responses prepared for those questions too.
The most important part of the job interview process is the preparation that comes before it. This begins with researching a prospective employer and getting familiar with their company history, mission statement, products, etc. It also includes thoroughly preparing for the actual job interview itself.
There are certain things that you should do during an interview to help make a positive first impression on your potential employer. On the other hand, there are some things that you should avoid doing at all costs to ensure that you don’t ruin your chances at securing a great new job.
Nobody enjoys difficult situations, especially during an interview…
The trouble is that when you’re focused on making sure everything goes smoothly, it’s easy to overlook the things that could go wrong. So, how can you make sure you don’t embarrass yourself during your job interview? What are some of the worst things you can say or do during an interview?
During interviews, we’ve witnessed candidates make a variety of mistakes, ranging from the most obvious to the odd. Here are the top worst things you can do in an interview, along with suggestions for how to prevent them:
The following are fourteen things you should never do during a job interview.
1. Arriving Late For Your Job Interview
Arriving late for an interview is a really bad idea because it shows that you aren’t organized and don’t respect the interviewer’s time.
Most likely, the interviewer has scheduled numerous interviews in a row on their calendar. Being late can help you avoid getting employed, but that isn’t your purpose.
Let’s face it: being late for an interview is never a good idea. It will just make you appear unprofessional and disorganized.
Plan your route ahead of time using your beloved GPS gadget, and always add an hour to your estimated travel time just in case. Wait until around 10-20 minutes before your interview to enter the building/office.
Everyone knows that it’s a bad idea to show up to an interview late. But what are the other things you can do to ruin your chances of landing that job?
This infographic from Ultralinx explains some of the things you should be aware of before the job interview. And if you’re on the other side, it also offers tips on how to identify the red flag candidates.
2. Dressing Unprofessionally For The Job Interview
When you’re interviewing for a job, the first thing an employer is going to notice is your appearance. Make sure that you look your best and use the following tips to ensure that you make a positive impression on your potential employer.
The first thing they will notice is how you dress. Dress professionally and conservatively, but don’t overdress. Overdressing can actually be worse than underdressing.
If you want to wear something other than business casual, pick something classic like jeans and a nice shirt.
The interviewer will also be looking at your body language and listening to your voice. Stand up straight.
It’s not a good idea to show up for an interview in sweatpants, wrinkled clothes, or unkempt hair. Even though casual attire is the standard where you’re applying, you should never wear it to an interview. This could imply that you’re disorganized or lazy.
Instead, consider the following options: Regardless of what you hear, wearing a suit to an interview is nearly a given (male or female). It’s irrelevant if you’ll ever wear a suit once you’ve been hired. Make sure you dress professionally so you can stand out from the crowd.
3. Showing Up for the Job Interview Unprepared.
The preparation that comes before the job interview is the most crucial element of the procedure. This begins with research about a potential employer’s history, goal statement, and products, among other things. It also entails meticulous preparation for the actual interview.
Before coming to the interview, there are a few things you should learn about the company to assist you to make a good first impression on your possible employer.
Make sure you finish your homework Prepare ahead of time to give yourself the best opportunity of becoming a dazzling star during an interview!
4. Distorting the Truth and Telling a Lie During The Job Interview
Lying in a job interview is seen as a cardinal sin by most. It’s not only unethical but also gets you nowhere. You won’t get the job if they find out the truth, and then you’ll have a reputation for being dishonest.
Lying in an interview is a risky enterprise that rarely turns out well. When asked to elaborate on your story, you’ll only end up stumbling over yourself, and there will be tell-tale signs from your body language that will reveal everything.
Exaggerating the length of your employment or the scope of your responsibilities is easily detectable. Don’t claim to be a manager if you aren’t! Instead, consider the following options: Consider phrasing what you did in a straightforward manner that reflects your experience. Rather than pretending to be a project manager when you aren’t, tell them how you assisted a project manager.
So be truthful about your true accomplishments and experience, and it will benefit you. But what if you escape with a blatant lie? Then in the worst of all lies, prepare for the most awkward first day of your life when you finally obtain the job and you have to admit that you can perform surgery as a surgeon!
5. Rambling Responses
When it comes to job interviews, you really want to avoid rambling.
So what are rambling responses? A rambling response is when you talk too much or don’t give specific enough answers. This makes the interviewer think you don’t have a good understanding of the position and that you might not be a good fit.
If you find yourself talking too much in an interview, there are ways to reduce it. Here are a few ways you can stop rambling:
In an interview, you are your own representative. It’s up to you to sell yourself, your skills, and your experience. The worst thing you can do is ramble on about irrelevant details.
You should prepare for an interview as if it was a presentation. To be effective in an interview, you have to organize your thoughts so that they flow well. This means that you need to practice your answers before the job interview and make sure you feel comfortable with them.
You may find this classic rambling example from Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson hilarious.
Instead of rambling, consider the following options: When responding to interview questions, understand the question, collect your thoughts and respond. Make sure your comments are brief and relevant. Remember, quality above quantity and less is frequently more!
6. Being Arrogant and Over Confident During The Job Interview
It’s good to be confident in your abilities and emphasize why you’re the best fit for a role, but don’t go overboard.
When it comes to job interviews, the worst mistake you can make is to be overconfident. It’s a bad idea because it makes you come across as arrogant and unprofessional. If you are overconfident, the interviewer will think that you have a big ego, which is not something they want in a potential employee.
Being confident during a job interview can be a great way to show your prospective employer that you are the right person for the job. However, there’s a thin line between wanting the job and appearing to be entitled to it. If you cross the confidence borderline and come off as arrogant, it may cause your interviewers to doubt your abilities and personality.
The best thing to do is to ensure that you are confident without coming across as arrogant or cocky is, to be honest with yourself. If you are not 100% confident in your skills or qualifications, then don’t try to fake it. Your potential employer will be able to see through the façade.
In addition, being overconfident can make you rush your answers or say things that aren’t true about your skills and experience. It can also cause you to miss out on questions that are asked of you during the job interview.
7. Looking at Your Phone or Allowing it To Ring Loudly
It’s a fact: most people check their phones while they are on a date, at the movies, or during a meeting. It’s natural to want to know if you have just received an email or text.
Now, imagine that you are in the middle of an interview and you get a notification. If you check it in front of your interviewer, it looks like you are unprofessional and disinterested. In an interview, never use your phone, check it, or even peek at your watch. This conveys the idea that you are bored, that you have things to do, or that you are uninterested.
Do you know how awful it is when your phone rings in the middle of a movie theatre? Yes, allowing your phone to ring out very loud during an interview is a lot worse. This is a tremendous blunder!
Always remember to switch everything off before entering an interview or leave it on silent at the very least. Especially if you have a dubious ringtone that could cause offense or shame – Vanilla Ice, we’re looking at you.
Oh, and don’t try to check your messages or missed calls while you’re driving. Recruiters are considerate, but they are not fools.
Instead, consider the following options: Leave your phone in your car or your bag unless you need it for some strange reason during the job interview. If it must be with you, it must be in absolute silence. It’s as easy as that.
8. Complaining About Your Past Bosses
“My former boss was a piece of shit. He was a “nice guy,” but not really nice to his employees, who ended up leaving one after the other. He was always pissed off and yelled at everyone. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like him. But, I needed the job and had to accept it. It became apparent that yelling at his employees wasn’t enough for him; he started yelling at the customers too, with inappropriate language and bad attitude. And guess what? Nobody came back to our store anymore!”
Come on! Just stop!
Everybody has a boss story or two. But would you tell them to your potential future boss? The answer is no because that would create a bad impression.
On the surface, complaining about your past bosses is a bad idea. It gives recruiters a negative impression of you and makes it seem like you’re going to be difficult to work with in the future. In fact, some interviewers may provide you the opportunity to lash out at your present or prior employers, but don’t fall for it. It’s not a good idea to complain about others or prior employers/managers.
It takes a lot of discernment to understand when or what to share about your past boss during a job interview. If you must, spin it around your own growth, development, and career aspirations. Even so, you cannot bad-mouth a past employer!
The rule of thumb, though, is to avoid it altogether. If you’re asked why you’re looking for a new job, always say something good. Consider the terms “development,” “leadership,” and “opportunity.” Avoid bringing up negative memories from the past!
9. Excessive Use of Slang During The Job Interview
Slang is a common phenomenon in the English language, but some employers find it a nuisance. Here are the reasons for which an employer may believe that slang should be avoided during the job interview process:
Slang is not professional.
Slang can be offensive to other people. The use of slang can also be considered rude or even racist in some cases.
It can confuse the listener or even make them believe that you are uneducated.
It can cause confusion since you are using words that are not related to the job you are applying for.
You need to make a good impression on the hiring manager during the interview if you want to get hired. You will also have to check out your tone of voice and choice of words during the interview.
During a job interview, you may use some words in a casual manner but which may not be appropriate for your interviewer or the company culture. The formality of your speech is determined in part by the role you’re applying for and the type of firm you’ll be working for. We would, however, avoid employing slang as a general rule.
10. Slouching, Yarning or Dozing Off
You’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair with a stranger staring at you across a table. You’re trying to sell yourself to this person and you’re terrified they might ask you something that makes you look bad. And then your eyes start to get heavy and you can’t keep them open.
As odd as it sounds, dozing off, yawning, or slouching during a job interview can actually happen. To make sure this never happens again, here are some tips for staying alert during a job interview:
Rest well prior to the interview. You can also consider a hot cup of coffee or tea can keep you up a bit. If your interviewer already presented you with water, take a move and pour yourself a glass. The act of drinking alone will push off that intruding doze and make you sit up.
Stay focused and attentive to your body language throughout the job interview, politely listening to what the interviewer has to say while remaining positive and enthusiastic.
11. Making Money a Priority
It’s a given that you want the job because you need money. It’s a requirement of life. But you should want it for other reasons as well, such as the fact that you’d be good at and/or love it.
These are the things that will impress the interviewer and make them want to give you a chance.
Personal money difficulties aren’t a good topic to bring up in a job interview, so keep it professional and only bring up the M-word if your prospective employer inquires about your wage expectations – and then, be reasonable in your demands.
12. Failing to Look a Person in the Eye
When you are in a job interview, remember that you are being looked at just as much as you are looking at the interviewer. You should remain calm and confident while looking at the interviewer in their eyes. This is a very important part of body language when it comes to interviewing.
The same goes for video interviews in general. Looking directly into the camera adds a great deal of credibility and professionalism to your application.
Interviewers are trained to look for certain signs during interviews to tell if a candidate will succeed in the role. One of these signs is eye contact. To make a surprisingly good impression on your interviewer, maintain good eye contact throughout the job interview process, and you may find yourself getting hired for the job.
People that lack confidence often stares at their feet or hands during conversations. Practice making eye contact with people when talking to them. This will help you feel more confident when talking to your interviewer.
If you do manage to find a comfortable level of eye contact, take advantage of it. It can be a fantastic approach for both parties to demonstrate respect by letting the interviewer know you’re paying attention and are secure in what you’re saying.
13. Failing to Listen
It’s critical to wait your turn to speak and avoid interrupting your interviewers in the middle of their conversation. It may seem like a good idea to continually converse to show your passion but only do so when the ball is in your court.
There are many ways that listening attentively during a job interview can help you land that dream job. The best way to make a great first impression is to pay close attention to what is being said and do as much research as you can on the company prior to the job interview.
This will make you feel more comfortable going into an interview because you will have a better idea of what they’re looking for and how they expect people in the role to behave. You’ll also be able to tailor your skills and experience to highlight your strengths and address any weaknesses that the interviewer might bring up. However, you need to listen attentively to be able to understand what is being asked.
Patience is required while you listen to what they have to say. The last thing you want is to ask a question they’ve already answered or to have no idea what the position entails since you were too preoccupied with what you’re going to say next.
14. Forgetting to Express Gratitude for the Job Interview.
One of the worst things you can do after an interview is not express gratitude for the interviewer’s time.
Expressing gratitude is a simple way to make a lasting impact. So, don’t forget to express gratitude for the job interview. The more genuine you are with your gratitude, the more genuine and heartfelt the person interviewing you will be in response. Develop sincere gratitude and they will develop a sincere liking for you.
You can also send an email or a handwritten message to the interviewer the next day, thanking them for their time. Whether or not you get the job, this act of gratitude carries a lot of weight in terms of future job opportunities!
Conclusion: The 14 Worst Things You Can Say or Do During a Job Interview
Taking the time to prepare beforehand for your job interview can help alleviate some of the stress associated with job interview anxiety and give you a boost of confidence. We hope you have found this article informative and helpful.
Not only does having a successful job interview require you to do a lot of preparation beforehand, but it also requires you to be calm and confident in the moment. Here is a link to an article on preparing for your job interview. If there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know by leaving a comment below.