Posted on: October 4th, 2019
What not to do during an interview


You finally get the call back saying you have been selected for an in-person interview, but be careful; there are a lot of things that can go wrong during the interview that you might not even think about. Every hiring manager is different, and certain things can be the deciding factor for your fate at the company. From showing up late, looking at your watch, forgetting to turn your phone off, or simply forgetting your resume, there are many mistakes that can cost you the job. We have eight different tips to help you better yourself for the interview and help you impress the hiring managers.

Mistake #1: Showing Up Late

Not having a flexible schedule, showing up late, or canceling last minute are bad signs to give your potential future boss. Showing up late can send the message that you do not respect the hiring manager’s time and that you may lack discipline. They might be hesitant to hire someone who can’t show up to an interview on time because they will not be reassured that you won’t show up to the actual job on time. You should plan to leave early to make sure you don’t run into traffic-related incidents, get lost, or have any issues along the way that could delay you. A good idea would be to go the day before just to learn where the company is so you are not lost looking around for it the day of.      

Mistake #2: Showing Up Too Early

Showing up late is a pretty obvious thing not to do, but showing up too early is one that many people do not seem to consider. Showing up early can make you seem desperate and that you have too much time on your hands. When you show up early, it can cause you to be an unintentional nuisance to the front desk worker. It can also cause awkwardness if you are too early and run into another interviewee. Showing up about 10 minutes early is about the perfect time for a job interview; it shows that you can be on time without the illusion that you have nothing else better to do by showing up 30 minutes too early.

Mistake #3: Not Knowing Anything About the Company

Not taking the time to read up on the company or learning some facts is a big turn-off for some hiring managers. It is very easy to go onto the website and browse around to get a feel for the company, learn about their culture and what they do. If you do not know about the company and what they do, you might not be able to relate the skills you have to the skills they need for the new role. The hiring manager might ask you about the company and their culture and mission and ask you to elaborate on how you think you will work well in their environment, and if you don’t know about the company you will not be able to give your best answer. 
Be prepared for the interview, learn as much about the company as you can and prepare yourself for potential interview questions, so you know how to answer them. Learning as much as you can about the company can also help you come up with questions to ask the hiring manager, which will show off your enthusiasm for the position and the company.

Mistake #4: Talking About Money Too Soon

Whatever you do, do not be the first person to bring up money in your interview. This will come off as foolish because that is a conversation to have once you actually get offered the job. If you seem more interested in how much money you will be making, the hiring manager might get worried that you care more about the money rather than the work you will actually be doing for the company. 

If the hiring manager is choosing between you and another candidate and you are the only one who talked about money, they may pick the other candidate. They might think that you only care about your salary, while the other candidate cares about the company and the work they’re doing. 

Mistake #5: Dressing Inappropriately

What you choose to wear to your interview will be the first impression you give the hiring manager. Your clothes tell more about you than most people think. Wearing clothes that are super tight or loose, too casual or dressy, or worn out with holes and faded areas are all a bad look for an interview. This is where doing your research on the company comes in hand, learn what their culture is like, who your customers will be and find out what type of place they are overall so you can dress accordingly. 

Mistake #6: Awkward Body Language

Body language can say a lot about a person, and hiring managers will notice it more than you. 

  • Eye Contact

A major body language mistake is not making eye contact with the hiring manager. If you can’t look them in the eyes, you will seem as if you are lying or trying to hide something which will make the hiring manager think they can’t trust you. Sixty-seven percent of hiring managers say not making eye contact is a huge body language mistake that happens often.

  • Smiling

To show you are excited and happy to be there, smile during the interview to express your enthusiasm for the job. Not smiling might make you seem uninterested and cold and could make you seem like an unpleasant person to work with. 

  • Cross Your Arms

While crossing your arms is a natural pose in everyday life, it can send a negative message to a hiring manager in a job interview. Crossing your arms could make you seem mad, bored, uninterested, or even too arrogant which will not impress the hiring manager.

Mistake #7: Talking Bad About Your Former Boss

You should never talk bad about your current or former boss when interviewing for a new job. No matter if you left on bad terms or you are not getting along with your current boss, the moment you start saying negative things, the hiring manager is going to become very skeptical of you. Not only will it make you look bad by talking poorly about someone else, but it will also make the hiring manager question whether or not you will talk the same way about them. 

In addition to your boss, the same goes for coworkers and your current or former job in general; keep your negative thoughts to yourself. If you start complaining about past or present coworkers, the hiring manager is going to start wondering how you will get along with their employees in their company. You will come across as a difficult person to work with. They will not want someone to join their company who cannot understand and communicate effectively with their peers.

Mistake #8: Looking at Your Watch or Phone

Looking at your watch or phone during your interview can give a bad signal to the hiring manager. When glancing at your phone or watch, it can give off the impression that you are in a hurry for something else or that you have somewhere else you would rather be than there. It also shows that you could potentially lack focus and not respect the interviewer’s time. 

You should be fully engaged during the interview and not be worrying about your phone’s notifications or the time. Silence your phone and stay focused for this interview so you look and feel prepared.

Be Prepared

Do your research and be fully engaged and ready for this interview. Why go through all of the other steps— job search, resume creation, cover letter, phone interview— just to throw it all away during one of the final steps. Learn where the company is, put together a clean, professional outfit and pack an extra resume and reference letter the night before to make sure you are all set and not rushed in the morning.