50 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make in a Job Interview
Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid
It's easy to make a mistake when you are in a job interview. Worst of all, sometimes you might not even realize you have gone awry. For instance, I've spoken to several job seekers who didn't realize that it wasn't acceptable to walk into an interview with a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. That behavior is just a bit too casual for an interview setting.
I've also spoken to applicants who have erred on the side of being too early for a job interview or being over-dressed for the job or the company. They thought they were doing the right thing. Instead, they ended up not making the best impression.
Some of the interview mistakes made most frequently should be obvious, but others aren't as clear, especially if you haven't interviewed much or in a while. Here are the top 50 most common interview mistakes to review so you can avoid making them.
Top 50 Interview Mistakes
- Dressing inappropriately.
- Not taking a phone interview as seriously as an in-person interview.
- Leaving your cell phone on.
- Chewing gum.
- Bringing a cup of coffee or other drink with you.
- Bringing another person with you to the interview.
- Wearing sunglasses.
- Showing up too early.
- Showing up late.
- Showing up hungover and/or really tired.
- Going to the interview if you are really sick.
- Not knowing the interviewer's name.
- Not introducing yourself.
- Leaving a Bluetooth earpiece on.
- Texting during the interview.
- Interrupting the interviewer to take a call.
- Have background noise (kids, pets, etc.) during a phone interview.
- Wearing too much much perfume or cologne.
- Wearing a hat or cap to the interview.
- Not bringing extra copies of your resume.
- Not bringing a list of references.
- Depending on the job, not bringing a portfolio of your work.
- Playing with your hair.
- Saying "umm" or "you know" or "like" too often.
- Mumbling and using poor grammar.
- Talking too much.
- Cutting off the interviewer's question.
- Not talking enough.
- Not smiling enough.
- Telling jokes and laughing too much.
- Not making eye contact with the interviewer.
- Criticizing your last company or boss.
- Not remembering your work history.
- Checking your notes for an answer to a question.
- Not following directions if you're given a test.
- Not being prepared to answer questions.
- Not paying attention to the questions you're asked.
- Not taking the time to research the company prior to the interview.
- Forgetting the name of the company you are interviewing with.
- Forgetting the names of the companies you've worked for in the past.
- Not remembering the job you applied for.
- Telling the interviewer that you really need the job.
- Telling the interviewer that you need the money.
- Not knowing enough about the company you are interviewing with.
- Asking about time off in your first interview.
- Asking about salary and benefits right away.
- When asked "Why do you want to work for our company?" providing answers that are focused on you instead of on how you will benefit the company.
- Not have relevant questions to ask when asked, "What questions do you have?"
- Neglecting to thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet with him or her.
- Not sending a thank you note after the interviewer.
Avoiding Interview Mistakes
When you want to make the best impression review these tips from Aliza Bogner, VP of human resources at Alison Brod Public Relations. Her suggestions will help you avoid the mistakes that candidates frequently make:
- Try to find out as much as you can about office culture before going into your interview. Dressing appropriately is imperative. Jeans, gum chewing, and sunglasses on top of your head are never appropriate - no matter how casual the office might be.
- Show up 10 minutes before the interview time. Don't show up a half hour early. And, definitely do not show up late.
- Bring multiple copies of your resume and make sure they are not folded up.
- Bring a bag large enough for a folder, if necessary.
- Be interesting. You are there to stand out, so don't be afraid to say something interesting. (That said, keep the conversation focused on the job at hand, not politics or your personal life.)
- Research what the job entails. You need to be aware of what is expected for the position for which you are applying.
- Know your interviewer's name. It will make a good first impression.
- Don't lie - it won't take long for an employer to figure it out.
- Never be cliche - don't tell the interviewer you are a people person, for example.
- Come prepared with concrete examples of your professional or social successes.
Top 10 Interview Tips
These top interview tips will help you cover everything you need to know to successfully ace a job interview. From checking out the company to sending an interview thank you note, these job interview tips cover all the basics needed for interviewing success.