7 Ways to Wreck Your Job Interview

Robert Half International

Performing well during the job interview is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Every candidate wants to impress a prospective employer, but, despite their best efforts, not all do. Often, a simple mistake can cause an applicant to blow the entire meeting. Here are some errors to avoid:


1. Arriving late

Getting to an interview on time or, for that matter, a few minutes early is an easy way to impress a prospective employer. Arriving late is not only unprofessional, it also shows the hiring manager that you have little regard for his or her schedule. It also calls into question your ability to show up to work on time, one of the most basic aspects of any job. Plus, arriving late could cause you to miss the meeting altogether if the interviewer has another appointment.


2. Being rude to the receptionist or assistant

Some candidates don't think it matters if they're dismissive of the hiring manager's assistant when arranging the interview or get upset at the receptionist because he or she mispronounced their name by mistake. After all, this person isn't the one making the hiring decision. But you may be surprised to learn that six out of 10 executives polled by Robert Half said they consider their assistant's opinion important when evaluating potential new hires. So remember to be polite and respectful to everyone you interact with during the hiring process.


3. Acting like you're the only person there

Consider this scenario: After you've checked in for the interview, you make a quick phone call to give your friend a blow-by-blow description of last night's party, speaking so loudly that everyone in the office can't help but hear you. That's the wrong approach. It's better to sit patiently and peruse any company literature in the lobby. Doing so demonstrates common courtesy and can help you learn more about the firm and its needs.


4. Going into the interview unprepared

Far too many candidates fail to properly prepare for the interview, believing that they can "wing it" and still make a strong impression. The savviest job seekers spend time prior to the meeting considering questions the hiring manager will likely ask so they can answer confidently during the meeting. They also research the employer ahead of time so they can explain how their skills match the open position and highlight their true interest in the company and position.


5. Appearing arrogant

Confidence is key for any applicant to possess, but taking it too far is sure to make you stand out -- for the wrong reasons. Boasting about your abilities ("I was the best worker my previous employer had ever had!") is a good way to appear arrogant and come across as someone who may have difficulty collaborating with others.


6. Not asking questions

As the interview winds down, the hiring manager will likely ask if you have any questions. Your answer should be yes. But your questions should go beyond "How much does the position pay?" and "How many days or vacation can I expect?" Although compensation and benefits are important components of any job, broach these subjects only if the prospective employer has expressed serious interest in hiring you -- usually not until the second or third interview. More appropriate questions for a first interview include "What will my specific duties be?" "What are your top priorities for this position?" and "What does a typical day in this position look like?"


7. Not following up

Even if you feel you aced the interview, it's not a good idea to simply sit back and wait for the hiring manager to call with an offer. Sending the hiring manager a brief note after the interview allows you to thank him or her for meeting with you and can help you reiterate your interest in the position.


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Mitsu

Really great point here: "2. Being rude to the receptionist or assistant

Some candidates don't think it matters if they're dismissive of the hiring manager's assistant when arranging the interview or get upset at the receptionist because he or she mispronounced their name by mistake. After all, this person isn't the one making the hiring decision. But you may be surprised to learn that six out of 10 executives polled by Robert Half said they consider their assistant's opinion important when evaluating potential new hires. So remember to be polite and respectful to everyone you interact with during the hiring process."

If you take a look at can seem like receptionist jobs are a dime a dozen... but still there's quite a variance in receptionist salary. Why is that? It's those who go above and beyond - and who have true people skills - who can give value to their company like helping evaluate talent as described above.

February 28 2010 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anna

Laura: I think it would have been more professional of that interviewer to say that she values accurate record keeping and efficient organizational skills, etc, rather than using the word 'anal', which I don't think belongs in a job interview or a business office. Also, "could have gone", not "could of gone", is correct, just so you know.
Good luck!

September 10 2009 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CB

Yea Tara and Laura! Just what I was thinking.

September 10 2009 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CB

Whoa.... You all sound so bitter and nasty to each other! Hope that side of your personalites doesn't show it self during the next interview you all daren't be late for.

September 10 2009 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tara

Some people (Karen, John) that has posted on this blog is very arrogant, narcissistic, and tasteless. Laura, don't listen to ANAL people. Now tell me what is the meaning of how I used the word ANAL? Focus on your own issues rather than trying to beat someone down because of a missed letter or any other mishap. You blogged for advice not to be butchered take heed to the positive ones and let the others go over your head.

September 10 2009 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tara's comment
Laura

Tara,

I am trying to ignore negative comments and realize I am not perfect and there are so many good people in this world like yourself, that I will let the comments of the hurtful ones fly right past me. I have been shot down so much in the last six months that I don't know where I will end up. Thank you for not being judgemental towards me.

September 10 2009 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen



Hey, Laura...........you hang in there. It has to turn around for all of us, before too much longer! As the 'little engine that could' said........"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can"!!!!

Reach out and do just about anything that can boost that positive attitude of yours!!!! ......Night, night, KarenB.

September 07 2009 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Hi there, Joy! You might want to brush up on your spelling. Arogant is not the correct spelling of the word. You left out the second 'r'.....as in Arrogant. That kind of thing is really OK in e-mail between friends, etc. But, with a spell check, more often than not, you just might want to take advantage of it, when it is more important.

I should, probably, have this e-mail spell-checked. But, I just 'hit the wall' and need to call it a day, as my bed is calling out to me.......g-night, and GOOD LUCK to All, KarenB.

September 07 2009 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kayla

That's always a nice laugh. Reading comments where people have poor grammer and spelling skills and yet they wonder why they are not receiving call backs.

And yes, those work from home sites are 99% of the time a scam. The best way to tell is to get the name of the company, the website, or even a phone number and do an internet search on it. People will always look for ways to tell others they've been scammed. Or try the Better Business Bureau website ( www.bbb.org ). Yes, you can do surveys from home but expect to earn nothing (usually in the form of entering to win a sweepstakes) to $3.00 for a 30 min to an hour long survey. Surveys that offer $10.00+ per survey want you to buy the product first. Everything has a catch. Sure fire ways to earn money is through Freelancing. The catch is you will be bidding for projects with several other people. But if you know how to write an excellent proposal and place the best bid, you can come out ahead on that one. Good luck out there and may we find someone out there that really does know how to stimulate the economy and not make empty promises of "change"!

September 06 2009 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joy

Well let's all dis on Laura because she doesn't have an English degree. Lighten up you arogant jerks.

September 06 2009 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joy's comment
Laura

Thank you for clarifying the word "anal". I guess at some point I figured the executive assistant to the CEO would of used a different phrase that is all. No I don't have a English degree either. Maybe the depression in my face shows as I interview or I am nervous and try to be confident and it is just not working. I can only pray the economy in Chicago does get better and jobs start opening up soon. After listening to Biden on television the other night it made it sound like things would not get better until June of 2010. By that time I will have lost everything I have. I just have to keep trying and applying. Thanks for the kind words.

September 07 2009 at 1:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kat

Hang in there...something will happen for you, keep on track, Kat

September 06 2009 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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