Congratulations, you got the interview! Your qualifications and cover letter have gotten you in the door, but now it’s time to show that potential employer why they should choose YOU out of all the other hopefuls they will interview.
Jobs are won and lost in the interview. Half of hiring managers decide within the first five minutes if the candidate before them is a good fit. Therefore, it is essential that you avoid these common behaviors that will cost you the job. Consider this your guide on what not to do.
#1 Be disrespectful
It may sound like common sense, but sometimes people don’t realize that their behavior is off-putting, or even down right rude. For example, did you realize that showing up late communicates that your time is more important than the person who is waiting on you?
Disrespectful behavior such as being late or failing to express appreciation for the interviewer’s time, failing to dress appropriately, or answering your phone in the interview
may immediately disqualify you from the position. After all, who wants to hire someone who is disrespectful at the very time they’re most eager to impress?
#2 Be disinterested
Can you imagine going on a first date where the person who initially asked you out just sits there asking you no questions about yourself and expressing no enthusiasm or interest in you? There would be no second date!
The same is true in an interview. If you fail to show interest in the company and the industry through engaging questions and enthusiastic responses the interviewer is going to assume that you are indifferent and will not offer you the position.
Prepare for the interview properly so you can ask good questions[link here] about the position and the company. This will demonstrate your interest and your commendable work ethic.
#3 Communicate poorly
An inability to express self clearly (i.e. mumbling, speaking too softly, using poor grammar) can lead an interviewer to toss your application in the shredder; after all, if you cannot communicate clearly in an interview you will likely not communicate clearly in the position.
Good communication starts with your application. Leaving questions or fields blank or handing in a sloppy copy is a good way to be disregarded as unprofessional.
Finally, failing to answer the question “Yes” or “No” before responding with detail causes the interviewer to have to search for the answer in your subtext. Be clear – answer the question first and then support your answer.
#4 Lack confidence
If you are not confident in yourself then the interviewer is not going to be confident in you either. A limp handshake, failure to look at interviewer when conversing, poor posture and a lack of energy all demonstrate to the employer that you don’t believe you can do the job. If you don’t think you deserve the job why should they?
#5 Be overconfident and entitled
Of course, arrogance and pretension can lose you a job offer as well. Being rude to the receptionist, placing an emphasis on money, demonstrating a “know it all” attitude or an inability to take criticism, and being unwilling to start at the bottom all communicate to the interviewer that you are difficult to work with and un-coachable. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
#6 Be evasive
An interview is not an interrogation and you are not a spy protecting government secrets. If you give vague responses to questions, make excuses, or ask the interviewer not to contact your former employer you are communicating that you have something to hide. Give clear answers and be honest (and positive) about anything that may be raised as a concern. Leave the evasive maneuvers and half-truths to the politicians.
#7 Be immature and directionless
The person interviewing you is looking for an employee who can do a job – they are not your mom, your guidance counselor or wise sage there to offer you advice on your journey. Therefore, if you give them the impression that you are merely shopping around, you’re indecisive and immature, or just lack goals and ambition, they will not take on the risk of hiring you just to have to replace you in a few months. Demonstrate purpose, passion and maturity if you want to be offered the position.
#8 Be jaded and/or sleazy
We all may laugh at television representations of the office cynic or the office gossip, but nobody really wants to hire an employee that they believe will make their work environment more negative. Talking badly of past employers and making jokes or using language that demonstrates unprofessionalism or strong prejudices are sure fire ways to make the interviewer run in the opposite direction.
Now take a deep breath in, and let it out.
You’ve got this. The truth is if you’re reading this, it means you want the job and you’re thoroughly preparing, so you’re halfway there. Just remember, keep your head up, shoulders back, speak clearly and confidently, and be respectful. Smile – and show that hiring manager that you are exactly what they are looking for.