Surefire Ways To Blow A Job Interview

what not to do in an interview

By Heather Huhman

Landing an in-person interview can be a huge feat in itself, and in this tough job market, you don't want to blow it. You have most likely read all of the ways to ace an interview, but there are many common interview mistakes that can directly cost you the job.

In addition to John Sumser's post, 12 Ways To Blow Your Job Interview, I have included some more interview tendencies to avoid in order to place you on the best path for success. Just as there are many things to do and to ask in an interview, there are just as many, if not more, actions or responses that are sure to destroy your chances. To put yourself in the very best position to land the job, I have added six more "DO NOT's" to the list of ways to blow your job interview. Be sure to avoid the following:

1. Slouching.

Slouching allows your body language to speak for your disinterest, nervousness, or lack of confidence. Your posture is extremely telling when it comes to determining your aura; and good posture is a direct expression of confidence. Stand and sit tall, roll your shoulders back, and be big during your interview.

2. Twirling, fidgeting, clicking.

Nerves can be the cause of many interview mishaps or tendencies that you do not usually uptake. Because your nerves can be the barrier between you and the open position, you need to make a point to abolish all nervous habits before stepping into an interview. Twirling your hair, fidgeting in your seat, or clicking your pen are all telling nervous habits and even worse -- distractions to the interviewer.

More: How To Save A Bad Interview

3. Saying 'no' when they ask if you have any questions.

Part of coming prepared to an interview is doing your research beforehand and coming up with questions that you would like to ask the interviewer about the company. There are many generic questions to ask such as, "What is a typical day like?" But, after your initial research and your discussion during the interview, you can and should ask genuine questions about the position and the company. Asking questions shows you are inquisitive and interested. Saying "no" is a sure way of showing your lack of interest.

4. Being a negative Nancy.

You may not realize during the interview process that interviewers are also taking note as to whether or not you would be a good fit within the company culture. Fellow, enjoyable employees can make an unexciting job much more bearable; therefore, during an interview you are being evaluated on whether or not you would be pleasant to work with. Avoid negative comments and a pessimistic attitude because people want to surround themselves with positivity throughout the workday.

5. Being a chatty Cathy.

The ability to keep a conversation going without the dreaded awkward silences is a great skill to have; but sometimes nerves can take this ability to the extreme. Talking a mile a minute is an annoyance and it hinders the productivity of the interview. Remember to take deep breaths and leave suitable pauses before and after making a statement. Allow the interviewer to get his or her word in to make for a constructive experience.

6. Forgetting your sales piece.

The main purpose of an interview is to sell yourself. If you forget to inform the interviewer as to why you make the best fit for the position, they will overlook you and your credentials. With every response, draw a direct correlation between your skills and the job requirements of the open position. You can do all of the preparation you want, but if you forget to sell yourself, you may blow a great opportunity.

A solid combination of practicing ways to ace an interview as well as being aware of the most common interview blunders to avoid is the best way to prepare. With a little confidence and releasing any nervous tension you may have, you'll be a polished interviewee.

Can you add any common interview mistakes to the list? Let us know below.

How to Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

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Bob Prosen

As a former Fortune 500 executive I've hired hundreds of employees.

The key to getting hired, whether there's an opening or not, is to customize your approach. If not, you won't stand out or even get an interview. So stop blasting out countless resumes. Most never make it through the automated screening process and even less make it into the hands of a real person in HR.

Your target is not HR! It's the hiring manager that matters most.

Companies hire people to solve problems (both positive and negative). Your ability to uncover your target employers problems and position yourself as the solution is what will get you hired even when there are no open postings.

Bob Prosen
The Prosen Center.
for Business Advancement.

October 20 2012 at 10:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Once I had an interview for a job at a printing company. I hadn't had a job for 13 months, so I was trying for a job a little lower in the food chain than I'd have liked ... that of a proofreader. When asked what I'd like to be doing in five years, I said that I'd like to be a graphic artist with that same company. I didn't get hired, and I asked why. The interviewer told me that she wanted me to say a proofreader with their company. I don't know how typical that is.

September 27 2012 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

These are great things that every job seeker should keep in mind. The most important thing during an interview is to sell yourself and show the employer why you’re the best fit -- so candidates definitely need to have a good handle on this when interviewing. Additionally, focusing on a few job openings that are a good fit can help candidates excel in communicating their fit, as opposed to sending their resume to any and every opportunity available in their field.

September 18 2012 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you try to gain re-employment with a company that you have work for in the past, but the pay isn't as great as what you are now used to, and you find yourself deperate for anything to pay your bills. So you go back to your past employer hoping to be rehired. The interviewer asked multiple questions, then out of no where he said to me: "I bet you didn't think you would end up back hear?" I answered stupidly not ready for such a question, and I replyed: "No, I didn't." I knew right then I just blown any chance of ever being re-hired. BE READY FOR THE INTERVIEWER TO THROW YOU A TRICK QUESTION RANDOMLY AND QUICKLY SO THAT IF YOUR NOT READY FOR IT AND CAN'T THINK QUICKLY - THE INTER VEIWER MAY THROW MULTIPLE QUESTIONS TO TRICK AND MAKE YOU SLIP UP. MAKEING YOU SLIP UP IS HIS/HER INTENTION. THINK BEFORE YOU RESPOND. THEN ANWER THE QUESTION. ALWAYS THINK BRIEFLY BEFORE YOU GIVE YOUR ANSWER.

September 18 2012 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have worked as an hourly supervisor and part of my job description was conducting interviews for potential new hires. I have seen some of the most absolutely preposterous stuff. People who forgot to bathe that morning, for example. People who ask me to repeat very simple interview questions over and over again and then give a totally irrelevant answer. People who play with their hair or pick food out of their teeth. Seriously, learn how to act professionally if you want to actually get a job somewhere.

September 18 2012 at 12:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i would love to see an article on interviewers just once. i once went on an interview where not one but 2 of the dept managers were there and when I asked what where the normal job duties, the typical day i was just told "customer svc stuff and duties" they looked at me like i just sprouted another head. just like some dont know how to behave in an interview some do not know how to interview candidates.

September 17 2012 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't over dress for an interview it won't impress the interviewer. In other words if you're applying for a job as an electrician don't wear a suit and tie but wear simular clothes that you would be wearing on the job. The same goes if you're applying for a job in sales don't underdress either.

September 17 2012 at 7:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm surprised that ,"no rubbing one out during the interview" did not crack the top ten

September 16 2012 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

riipping off your clothes and trying to seduce the interviewer

September 16 2012 at 10:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Boy I am so glad I am retired and dont have to put up with the corporate bull----t anymore. I worked for a guy who was 90% imagine and 10% performance. You know the type just like Obama. Anyway, ended up working for myself did well and retired to the Bible Belt. If had to do it all over again I would have worked for myself sooner. Its someone else turn to kiss the bosses buttocks. Retired and loving it. Remember me Carl and Diane looks like I got the last laugh

September 16 2012 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rtgarton's comment

I thought it was Jack and Diane

September 16 2012 at 11:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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