What Not To Do At An Interview

19 Things That You Must Avoid During an Interview

Last Updated on September 26, 2022

Whether it’s your first interview or you’ve been to several interviews before, there’s one thing that never changes: your nerves. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but there are several things that you should avoid doing at all costs.

Sometimes things are just out of your control, but the things that you do have control over will play a crucial role in increasing your chances of impressing the interviewer or employer.

So, let’s take a look at what you should never do at any interview.

19 Things You Must Avoid During an Interview

1. Arrive Late or Too Early

First things first, you should always arrive 10 minutes before any interview. Arriving late to an interview will just not make the cut. However, we all know that life may throw some unexpected issues at us.

If this is the case, and you realize that you won’t make it on time for the interview, give the interviewer (or the person who you may have been communicating with about the interview) a call to excuse yourself.

Do not simply show up late without excusing yourself; this will definitely negatively impact your chances of landing the job.

On the other hand, you may want to make a good impression on your interviewer by arriving extra early at the venue for your interview. This is also not recommended as it may give the impression that you have too much free time on your hands.

If you do arrive early, simply grab yourself a cup of coffee at the nearest café and kill some time by reading or catching up on some emails. This will also help you to decompress and soothe your nerves a bit before the interview.

2. Chew Gum or Eat Food

Chewing gum may taste nice in your mouth, but it will leave a bitter-tasting impression of you for your interviewers! It’s simply just bad manners to chew gum at an interview.

Interviews are regularly held at restaurants as they are relaxed, public environments. Although it may seem nice to get a free meal, avoid eating food during the interview. It will distract you from giving the best possible answers.

3. Dress Inappropriately

Ever heard the expression that first impressions last? While it may be recommended to wear smart-casual attire, it’s better to be overdressed and adhere to the age-old business etiquette for interviews.

Let’s not forget that your hair must be presentable and clean; never go to an interview with messy hair. It will reflect badly on your personal hygiene standards.

In addition, depending on the position being offered at the interview, refrain from exposing any tattoos. Tattoos are accepted in society, but for professionalism’s sake, it’s best to keep them covered.

4. Forget Copies of Your Resume And a Pen

Forget Copies of Your Resume And a Pen

You aren’t the only applicant that has emailed their resume for the job. It’s not safe to assume that your interviewer has your resume on hand for the interview. Be prepared and have enough copies of your resume for a panel of interviewers.

Refrain from borrowing stationery, such as pens or pencils. It is best to be equipped with sufficient stationery, in case you may need it.

5. Be Arrogant

Employers are looking for candidates that are confident in their abilities and show a sense of understanding of what the job entails.

However, there is a major difference between arrogance and confidence. The fastest way to end an interview is to display an arrogant attitude towards the interviewers or potential employers.

6. Answer Your Cell Phone

There’s nothing worse than the annoying ringtone of a cell phone going off during an interview. Make sure your cell phone is on silent or switched off during your interview. Answering a text message or phone call during the interview displays poor etiquette towards the employer.

7. Be Boring And Lack Enthusiasm

The whole point of an interview is to persuade the interviewer that you are the perfect candidate for the position. Selling your personality, skills, and experience may be required, but still keeping it professional.

Employers will want to see a candidate that is enthusiastic about working for them, so if you come across as passive or indifferent, the next candidate may well just get the job.

8. Forget to Do Your Research

Your resume may have landed you the interview, but doing your research on the company is still a requirement. You can find most of the information about the company/ business that you have an interview with on their website or social media page.

If your interviewer asks why you chose their company/ business specifically, you will be well prepared. You will be able to impress them with your in-depth knowledge of the company’s personnel and operations.

Do not simply say that you wanted the job. Rather refer to how and/ or their business is a good fit for you.

9. Mumble And Ramble Unnecessarily

Often you will know the answers to questions being asked, but your nerves will force you to rush your answering. This can sometimes cause your answers to be unclear or vague.

Take your time to formulate your answers. There’s nothing wrong with pausing before you answer a question.

Rambling with unnecessary information will easily bore the interviewer/ employer. If the interviewer tends to cut you off before you complete your answers, you are definitely talking too much. Keep your answers precise, and keep an eye on your interviewer’s reactions.

10. Remain Silent

There will (most probably) be a time in the interview when you’re asked a question that you may have trouble understanding, or you simply have no idea what the correct answer may be. The worst thing you could do is to remain silent.

Silence is worse than talking excessively. To avoid the atmosphere of the interview from seeming negative, politely reply that you aren’t sure of the answer, but you are prepared to email them the correct answer after the interview.

11. Not Ask Questions

When you’re given a chance, or should you be invited to ask any questions, have some questions prepared for your interviewer.

Manager’s interview

It’s more than likely that there will be a panel of interviewers appointed with various representatives from different departments. This means that you should take the opportunity to ask a few relevant questions that you may have about your possible future place of work.

Failing to ask any questions will show a lack of interest in the company and reflect badly on your behalf.

12. Have Bad Body Language

It’s not all about what you say but how you say it that counts. Keeping eye contact with your interviewer and having a good posture will speak louder than your actual answers. Start off with a firm handshake, greet with a smile and sit up straight throughout the interview.

13. Bad-Mouth Your Current Employer

An interviewer will try to get some background knowledge about your work relationship with your previous employer. This isn’t an opportunity to lay any grievances or sob stories to the interviewer.

When you’re asked questions about your current employer or previous employer, keep it professional and never bad-mouth anyone. Bad-mouthing is potentially the worst thing that you can do and will make your prospective employer think twice about hiring you.

14. Discuss Remuneration

Although we’d all like to know what the salary/ wage expectations are, it’s best to wait until there is an offer from the employer. Avoid asking questions about money and vacations too early in the process. It reflects poorly on your interest in working for the employer.

15. Lie During the Interview

If you are asked a personal question that you may not be comfortable with answering, rather give a polite reply or an honest one.

Don’t be shy to simply say that you aren’t sure of the answer if you are asked questions that you really have no clue about. This shows more integrity than lying to the interviewer.

16. Curse or Use Inappropriate Language

Remember to keep your language clean and formal throughout the interview. The use of slang or colloquial language will reflect poorly on your language skills and will have a negative effect on your interview.

The use of foul, inappropriate language displays unprofessional behavior and reflects a lack of vocabulary knowledge. Be careful not to tell any jokes that will offend anyone in the room; it’s best not to tell any jokes at all.

17. Fidget And Cross Your Arms

Your nerves will be running amok at the start of your interview, which may cause some discomfort and lead to fidgeting. Take a deep breath before your interview, place your feet solidly on the ground, and put your hands at your sides.

Crossing your arms must be avoided at all costs. It might be comfortable to cross your arms, but it displays a defensive attitude towards your interviewer.

18. Be Unprofessional or Get Too Comfortable

When the interview starts gaining momentum and you begin to get comfortable, remember to keep it professional and avoid asking personal questions. Stay clear about getting personal and describing your current problems, as you won’t leave a good impression.

19. Sit Down First

You may be eager to get into the boardroom and get your interview started, but common courtesy still applies. Wait until you’re invited to take your seat before you sit down. It may seem simple, but it’s a common mistake that many people make.

Hopefully these pointers on what not to do at an interview will assist you in landing that dream job, so good luck!

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