Interviewing for a new job is tough—we all know it. Pulling off a successful interview involves many steps, all the way from preparation to following up afterward. No one will blame you for being nervous or for making small blunders. It happens to the best of us.
However, there are certain slip-ups that are inexcusable by any measure. They are the kind of sloppy failures of judgment that make you look amateurish. Above all, they’re just silly! When you’re interviewing for a new position, avoid these 15 blunders at all costs.
Blunder 1: Talking About a Different Job Than The One You’re Interviewing For
At an interview, you will likely be asked “Where will you see yourself in five years?” This question is meant to gauge your passions and eventual goals. So if you talk about seeing yourself in a position or field that has nothing to do with the job you’re interviewing for, the recruiter will wonder why you’re even there.
For example, if you’re vying for a sales position but talk about how you’re aiming for a marketing career, chances are you’re not that enthusiastic about sales, and your interviewer will note that.
Blunder 2: Eating During a Phone Interview
You always want to be as articulate as possible during any interview, and this is especially true for phone interviews, where reception already threatens clarity.
If you’re stuffing your mouth with food while talking on the phone, chances are your recruiter won’t understand what you’re saying. Admitting to your recruiter that you’re eating while talking to them exhibits a total lack of concern. Plus, you wouldn’t bring snacks to a face-to-face interview, so why do it here?
Blunder 3: Not Maintaining Composure
As we already mentioned, it’s only natural to feel nervous during an interview. Nevertheless, you must do your best to maintain all sense of composure—it looks extremely professional if you do so. Whereas if you’re fidgeting, biting your nails, or engaging in other nervous tactics, it’s not a good look.
Blunder 4: Not Committing
If you commit to an interview, you’d best follow through. Both you and your recruiter are putting a lot of work into making this interview happen, and precious time has been set aside. If something pops up that prevents you from making your interview, make sure to let your recruiter know in advance.
If you pull out at the last minute due to a conflict or a change of heart, it’s not only a waste of your time—it’s an insult to the recruiter. They will remember this in case you ever try to apply at their company again. And just like that, you’ve burned a bridge
Blunder 5: Not Being Comfortable
Recruiters don’t want to intimidate you and make you uncomfortable (well, most don’t). They’re looking forward to a good, productive conversation and you should be too.
Sit down and don’t be so tense. Relax yourself, although still remain professional. If there’s a chair present at the interview and you choose to stand the whole time, your recruiter will find it strange.
Blunder 6: Showing Up Drunk
This should be obvious, but it does happen. Just don’t do it! Symptoms of intoxication are ridiculous and will immediately cost you any chance of getting the job.
Blunder 7: Not Knowing Who You’re Interviewing
Job hunting is a strenuous activity—you may find yourself saddled with several interviews in the same week. However, you have to keep everything mentally sorted.
If you address your recruiter by the wrong name—say, the name of the recruiter you just talked to yesterday—it will certainly come across as odd. An even worse act would be to talk about a separate job than the one you’re interviewing for at the moment. The keyword here is focus.
Blunder 8: Not Showing Up
If you schedule an interview and don’t bother to show up, well, that’s a highly efficient way to offend your recruiter and the company. Again, if you have something in the way, let them know! Being a silent no show will completely exterminate your relationship with the recruiter and the company.
Blunder 9: Not Dressing Well
Professional situations call for professional wear. You should be aware of dress codes for these interviews, and you should strictly adhere to them. Don’t show up in a suit with sneakers, and don’t wear mismatching colors. Make sure you look your absolute best. Dress to the nines.
Blunder 10: Having Bad Breath
Brush your teeth. Take a mint. Chew some gum and get rid of it before the interview. No one likes talking to someone with unpleasant breath.
Blunder 11: Swearing In Your Interview
Using bad language in your interview gives off a poor sense of character. Be absolutely clean and professional in your speaking. In some cases, you might even be baited into swearing—don’t fall for it.
Blunder 12: Bringing a Friend to Your Interview
You’ve likely heard the rule to never bring a family member to an interview—the same thing applies to your friend. Even if someone close to your is gracious enough to drive you to your interview, don’t bring them in to wait with you, and don’t bring them into the office with you. It just makes for an awkward, uncomfortable situation.
Blunder 13: Lying
The need to sell yourself is paramount. But lying is unnecessary. Recruiters and hiring managers know how the fine details of the jobs work, and they can see through your crap. Why risk it?
Blunder 14: Directly Insulting Your Recruiter
There may be some things you aren’t quite happy about when it comes to job hunting in the modern world. Fair enough. But don’t take it out on your recruiter—not only might they disagree with you, but many of your complaints may apply to them.
For instance, you may be going on about the faults of millennials in modern job markets, and your interviewer may be a millennial themselves. That could be an uneasy situation.
Blunder 15: Answering Your Phone During the Interview
Give your full attention to your recruiter while you speak to them. If you answer your phone during the interview, it disrupts the flow of the meeting and makes your recruiter feel as though you don’t care about this job and have priorities lying elsewhere. They may also think you are easily distracted and unfit for a job that requires high concentration.
Resist the temptation. Turn your phone off or put it on silent.