5 Things To Never Do During A Job Interview

Image: aastock; BigStock

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Image: aastock; BigStock

Image: aastock; BigStock

Many applicants, despite stellar resumes and cover letters, fail to make it past the interview stage. Often, this is due to little mistakes during the interview that leave a big impression.


Here are five things never to do during a job interview:

1. Check your watch

As tempting as it can be, try to avoid checking your watch during a job interview. This makes it appear as though you are bored or uninterested and leaves a bad impression with the interviewer. They should have your full attention at all times to show your active interest in the position and the company.

And, realistically, you should have blocked out the full amount of time for the interview, so there should be no reason for you to check your watch. Can’t resist the temptation? Don’t wear one.

2. Interrupt the interviewer

Never interrupt your interviewer, no matter what. It’s incredibly bad form (think about how you would feel in their shoes) and can leave a negative impression.

Even if you don’t understand the question being asked, listen through to the end of whatever they’re saying, and if you have questions ask them at the end. Or, say if you think of the perfect response halfway through their statement, still listen through to the end. If by chance you do blurt something out and interrupt them, apologize and wait to finish.

Related: 3 Ways Job Seekers Ruin Networking Opportunities

3. Come unprepared

Not being prepared for an interview is one of the most common mistakes professionals make. You should show up to the interview on time, having researched the company and prepared questions. Not knowing what the company does or having any questions prepared makes it seem as though you aren’t taking the opportunity seriously.

Taking an hour to research the company and jotting down a few notes makes all the difference in an interview. It can help you prepare talking points, including what questions to ask and which of your experiences to highlight.

Related: How to Ace Interview Screenings

4. Text (or check your phone at all)

This is along the same lines as checking your watch — it makes you appear bored or uninterested. Silence your phone before going into the interview, but if it does go off by accident, simply apologize and silence it. And under no circumstances should you pull it out to send a text or make a call.

Treat your phone the same as your watch. If you feel you can’t resist the temptation to check it (or even if you’re just worried about it going off), turn it off or leave it in your car.

5. Dress inappropriately

First impressions are important — you only get one, and it’s very hard to change it if you come across poorly. An interview starts the second you walk in the door, so make sure you look professional. Keep clothes modest and appropriate, make sure your face and hair are clean, remove distracting piercings, and cover tattoos.

Need help deciding what counts as professional dress? Take a look at our list of staples every professional should own.

Interviews are never easy, but avoiding these five mistakes can help you come across as professional and leave a good impression with the interviewer.

What are other common interview mistakes?

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.