22 Ways to Blow Your Next Interview

22 Ways to Blow Your Next Interview


Unemployment remains high which means when candidates finally snag an interview, they need to be mindful that lots of other people may be applying for the same job.

These days, employers are much less forgiving for whatever mistakes job prospects make in the interview process. To that end we’ve come up with 22 surefire ways you can ruin your chances at getting the job:

1. Show up late — If you can’t get to the interview on time, you’re already proven that you cannot be depended upon to show up for work on time. Get to the interview 10-15 minutes early.

2. Wrong clothes — Find out before you are interviewed what the dress code is like. Casual may work fine for high tech, but many traditional companies still expect you to come attired in a suit with shoes shined, hair combed and visible tattoos hidden.

3. Bad mouth people — The adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all,” holds true when being interviewed.

4. Unrefined language — Watch your speech: slang won’t endear you to the person interviewing you. Use foul language and you can consider the interview to be over.

5. Wear  annoying perfume — You want to smell nice, but don’t overpower the room and everyone in it with a smell no one but you can stand.

6. Makeup or not — Your make up shouldn’t be a distraction, then again your lack of same shouldn’t be either. Men: clean shaven is the way to go. No five o’clock shadow or one day beard growth is allowed.

7. Not listen — Pay attention! No one likes to be ignored in the interview especially the person who may offer you a job.

8. No questions — Do your research about the company first. Ask questions about the company, the office, job and more. Thoughtful questions, not filler stuff!

9. Talk too much — Find the balance between listening and asking questions. Too much jabber and you’ll be passed by.

10. No resume — Paper resumes are a thing of the past, right? For some companies, yes. For others, they’ll want to see the dead tree version in their hands.

11. Food and drink — No food, no drink when being interviewed. Not even bottled water. Seriously.

12. Fidget or look away — Establish eye contact, but don’t stare. Most certainly, don’t let your eyes wander all over the place.

13. Discuss pay — Pay matters should wait until after the interviewer brings it up. And only then…tread carefully!

14. Discuss benefits — Pay talk and benefits do not necessarily go hand in hand. Save that discussion until after you’ve been given an offer.

15. Act bored — You’re interested in the job, right? If so, show the proper amount of enthusiasm without exaggerating.

16. Cell phone interference — Your cell phone needs to be off or silenced when being interviewed. NOTHING should interrupt your interview, at least from your side.

17. Tell stories — Besides controlling how often you speak, what you say is important too. Be prepared to back up your statements; avoid embellishing and NEVER lie.

18. Forget names — Know the proper name of the person interviewing you and other people in the organization you should know by name.

19. Business cards — Take your interviewer’s business card when you leave. How else can you follow up with a thank you note?

20. Thank you note — Send a note to the person who interviewed you. Some companies may not be offended if you send your note via email, but why not send it by regular mail?

21. Follow up — Failure to follow up means you are not interested in the job. Worse, is following up too often or in inappropriate ways.

22. Submit incorrect data — You have the job in hand, but you haven’t started work yet. As you fill out the paperwork related to your job, you fudge on something about your benefits, perhaps claiming someone who is ineligible to receive medical benefits. You made it through the interview, but botched the getting hired paperwork.

There are many more things you can do wrong when interviewing, but instead of concentrating on these, polish your interview skills to make certain you always show up with your A Game.

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Categories: Career Planning

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".