No matter how talented you are, or how experienced you are, you can flunk out at an interview by doing small things that make a big difference to the impression you leave a prospective employer. The same goes when being interviewed by a recruiter.
Always remember that the interview is your time to shine and leave a memorable impression of your personality, skills and presentation abilities. Your resume can score 100, but not managing yourself well during interview can drop that score to a big fat zero and see you immediately disqualified.
Here are our top 30 tips for what NOT to do during interview.
- Never turn up late. If you can’t avoid this (and the reason better be a good one), call ahead and provide as much notice as possible.
- Never enter the interview room and just sit down. Wait to be offered a seat. This shows a high level of etiquette and manners.
- Never give a weak handshake or a handshake that’s too hard.
- Never go into an interview unprepared. Do your research. Practice answers. Be ready to give examples.
- Never bad mouth a previous employer or tell horror stories about the past companies you’ve worked for, or their staff.
- Don’t blame others for your mistakes, which will make you appear to have a lack of accountability.
- Never interrupt someone who is talking. This is just plain rude.
- Don’t start answers with ‘um’ or ‘ah’, which will show you lack confidence.
- Don’t speak in a monotone voice—you’ll appear unenergetic and disengaged.
- Don’t ramble on and on when answering a question. Stay on point.
- Don’t forget to listen carefully and directly answer the question.
- Don’t avoid eye contact. This can be misinterpreted as lack of confidence or interest or weak interpersonal skills.
- Don’t play favourites by speaking directly to one or two members of a panel and ignoring the others.
- Never lie.
- Don’t become too familiar or ask personal questions.
- Don’t discuss money, unless the interviewers bring it up (if working with a recruiter, refer interviewers back to the recruiter for salary negotiations).
- Don’t ask for flexible hours, time off or bonuses until further through the process.
- Never answer a call on your phone or text. Turn your phone off. Don’t even leave it on vibrate.
- Never swear or use slang, even if an interviewer is doing so.
- Don’t slouch. Good posture makes you look more professional and alert.
- Don’t play with anything on the table—your fingers, pen, phone or notepad. Stay focused.
- Don’t fidget or shift around in your seat, which will signal you’re uncomfortable with the process.
- Never appear arrogant in your body language or answers to questions. This includes crossing your arms over your chest.
- Don’t forget to smile, which will make you come across as warm and engaging.
- Don’t turn up inappropriately dressed, wearing revealing or overly casual clothing. Don’t under dress. Always go up a level or two. And don’t leave it to the last minute to decide what to wear. Have your outfit cleaned and ready. Make sure your shoes aren’t scuffed.
- Don’t overload on aftershave or perfume, which can be overbearing and inconsiderate, especially in interview rooms when the door is usually closed.
- Don’t smell of body odour, which is off-putting. Consider buying an extra strong deodorant.
- Don’t turn up smelling like cigarettes, alcohol or strong foods like garlic.
- Don’t chew gum or eat.
- Don’t continually look at your watch, which will signal you can’t wait for the interview to be over.
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