Your blazer is clean and crisp from the dry cleaners, you’ve checked to make sure your pens write smoothly, and your resume is printed on card stock paper, tucked safely in a sturdy folder. You’re en route to an interview and you’re excited about the prospect of a new job at a new company. Although you may feel like a bundle of nerves, you can’t deny the hint of another particular feeling: the feeling of possibility.
Interviews are nerve-racking because they hold so much weight in the job search process. But they’re exciting because it’s the first step to getting your foot in the door. A good interview is the best way to get more doors to open, but on the flip side, a bad interview is the fastest way to see those doors lock shut behind you. We want you to enter your interview with feelings of possibility, but we especially want you to leave feeling hopeful.
In order to make sure that happens, there are certain things you need to never do in an interview. Curious as to what those are? Read on.
1. Bash your old company
No matter how much contempt you may feel for your boss or your company, don’t mention it here. Don’t even allude to it. Keep all negative feelings toward your current employer at bay.
2. Show up too early
You know not to be late, but arriving too early can be distracting. Show you have great time management skills by arriving exactly 5 minutes early—the perfect amount of early that will keep you safe from being late.
3. Not ask questions
Questions are signs of engagement and interest. Therefore, if you’re at all interested in the job, you must ask questions. It is absolutely no surprise that you will be asked “Do you have any questions for me?” There’s only one way to answer that: “Yes.”
4. Say ‘perfectionism’ is your greatest weakness
It’s critical to think of nuanced yet truthful answer to the “What is your greatest weakness?” question. It’s one of the most difficult questions because it’s one of the easiest to flub. Don’t try to obviously sugarcoat a weakness. Sharing a genuine area of improvement displays maturity and a sense of self-awareness. If you say ‘perfectionism’ is your weakness, don’t be surprised if you see an eye roll.
Even if your interviewer curses, you should not. In an interview setting, it’s simply not professional.
[Related: When Is Cursing At Work an “Oh Sh*t Moment?”]
6. Ask the wrong questions
An interview is NOT the time to ask questions about salary, vacation, or what time people leave the office. Save those questions for when you have an offer in hand. Although you may be curious about the answers, it’s too presumptuous to ask in an interview.
7. Exhibit distracting behavior
This can be in the form of using too many “ums”, playing with your hair, or fidgeting with the pencil in your hands. Not only are these obvious signs of nerves, but they’ll distract your interviewer. You want to be remembered as a strong candidate, not a candidate who couldn’t’ stop twirling the pencil.