Top 10 Things Not to Do in an Interview

Top 10 things NOT to do in an interview

10 very small, but very significant acts that could stand between you and your next job.

Showing up late, forgetting a copy of your resume, having a bad hair day…these are all reasons you might not feel as confident as you’d like to when you’re in your next job interview, but they’re not immediate disqualifiers. According to employers, the top most detrimental blunders candidates make in interviews are often the most common. Have you made any of these mistakes? Here are the top 10 things NOT to do in your next job interview:

  1. Appear disinterested

Fifty-five percent of hiring managers say this is a big deal-breaker in an interview, and we can’t blame them for saying this is the No. 1 thing you should not do in an interview. If you’re this bored in an interview, how will you act on the job? Employers want somebody who will bring energy and focus to their team, and will engage with the job. Acting disinterested, or failing to show enthusiasm for the opportunity, only signals to employers that you’re not interested in this job—and they’ll find a candidate instead who is.

  1. Dress inappropriately

Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose, too dressy or too casual, or wearing brands and logos in professional settings is a bad sign, according to 53 percent of hiring managers. But before you accuse your interviewer of playing fashion police instead of interviewing you about your skills, remember why they even care about your appearance: They’re evaluating your judgment and how you’d appear to customers. Do you show you can fit in with company culture? Are you there to bring professionalism to the organization? Dress the part.

  1. Appear arrogant

This turn-off bothers 53 percent of hiring managers, who would rather hear about your accomplishments in the context of how you helped the organization, compared to a list of bragging rights. Frame your big wins in the company’s overall success: your impressive sales numbers attributed to the company’s biggest year in earnings, for example.

  1. Talk negatively about current or previous employers

Half of hiring managers (50 percent) said this is a red flag when meeting with potential hires. No surprise there. Why would they want to be your new employer when your old employer is taking all the blame for your career’s negatives? If there’s bad blood between you and an old employer or workplace, simply state a difference in personalities or work culture, and emphasize that this organization and you are a much better fit for both your strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Answer a cell phone or text during the interview

About equally as rude as speaking negatively about old employers is checking or using your phone, according to 49 percent of hiring managers surveyed. This is a simple fix. Do NOT use your phone at all during the interview, as it’s rude and discourteous to your interviewer’s time. Turn it off (or on silent if you must have it on) before you enter the building or get on the phone or webcam for your in-person or digital interview. Either way, you should not be using your phone at all during an interview.

  1. Appear uninformed about the company or role

You may think you can fake it till you make it, but 39 percent of hiring managers will disagree with your strategy if you appear uninformed about the company or the role you’re interviewing for. Before your interview, research every aspect: who you’ll be interviewing with, what the role’s responsibilities are, any major news about the organization and background knowledge of its industry.

  1. Avoid providing specific examples

Thirty-three percent of hiring managers say this is a problem, since they want to hear exactly how you demonstrate your qualities of being a “hard-working, energetic, driven team-player.” Did you implement a new employee engagement perk or group? Did you earn recognition or awards for your achievements? Get specific when you’re explaining your strengths and achievements.

  1. Ask generic questions (or none at all)

Similar to being ignorant to what the organization or role does, asking generic questions (or none at all) signals to the interviewer you probably don’t understand or aren’t interested in the job—which is a problem according to 32 percent of hiring managers. Demonstrate your knowledge by asking specific questions about on-the-job duties, as well as any questions you may have about the organization or style of management.

  1. Provide too much personal information

Oversharing is something to avoid, according to 20 percent of hiring managers. You don’t need to go into detail about personal hobbies or family anecdotes in an interview. Simply be yourself and let your personality and confidence speak for themselves.

  1. Ask the hiring manager personal questions

About as bad as oversharing is over-asking, according to 17 percent of hiring managers. Asking the hiring manager personal questions doesn’t establish a connection between you two—it just makes your interviewer uncomfortable and shows you don’t have a good sense of business manners. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and professionalism.

Avoiding these 10 pitfalls can put you on a much more successful trajectory towards having a successful interview and potential job offer.

© 2015 CareerBuilder, LLC. Original publish date: 08.14.2015

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