An alternate title for this article could be “Ways to guarantee you’ll NOT get the job.” We consulted with Jamie Hichens, a recruiter at Glassdoor who’s seen it all when it comes to interviews. Here she shares interview “deal-breakers,” aka things that would that may tank a candidate. If an interview is in your future, this article is a must-read.
“The worst one is coming unprepared,” says Hichens, matter of factly. “For example: not having researched the company, the role, the people they are interviewing with, and not having questions prepared.”
What’s the #1 deal-breaker that would absolutely immediately eliminate a candidate from the running?
However, according to Hichens, being unprepared is not the top reason that many HR recruiters will disqualify a candidate for employment. Instead, arriving fashionably late — or worse, not at all — will nearly guarantee that even the most stellar candidate will not get a job offer from a recruiter.
“Being late to an interview with no explanation or without emailing or calling ahead to say they are running late. This one will knock out 99% of interviewees,” says Hichens. “At the very least, if you’re running late, call and offer an ETA, an explanation, or an offer to reschedule. And remember to apologize for the inconvenience.”
In an effort to help job seekers avoid potential pitfalls, Hichens outlines her top deal-breakers. Whether you’re interviewing for an internship or an executive role, avoid these things at all costs.
- Bad mouthing your current or past company or manager. Stay away from this at every cost!
- Eating, drinking, chewing gum. Oh, and an interview is not the time to grab the free snacks in the office.
- Swearing — even if it’s a lax company culture, and even if your interviewer is swearing. Save the F-bomb until you’re safely in the position.
- Saying “like” and “um” a lot. 100 percent of hiring managers will notice if your interview is filled with filler words. It is always better to take a pause and not say anything at all than to say “um.”
- Acting flustered. If you blank, just take a moment and breathe. That is completely acceptable. Trying to fill blank space is more detrimental.
- Don’t blame any flaws or hiccups on technical difficulties. If something goes wrong, see it as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility and problem-solving abilities. Do not blame external factors for a poor interview performance.
- Dress inappropriately. Always ask what the dress code is before the interview so you can make sure to dress interview appropriate and company culture appropriate. The adage to “dress for the job you want” never fails.
- Not asking the interviewer any questions. You should ask a question every time someone asks you whether you have any questions. Even if you feel like you’ve exhausted every question on the planet. Here are two good standby questions you can ask any interviewer: “Why did you choose this company?” “What are you most excited about for the company in the future?”
- Not bringing your resume. Bring several copies—at least one for every person you’re interviewing.
- Not giving detailed answers. Always be prepared to offer stories, examples, and concrete example of your work product.
- Showing more interest in salary than anything else. Of course, salary is an important part of a job, but it shows poor taste if it’s the only thing of interest.
- Really stiff body language and lack of eye contact. If you are coming across as uptight and unrelatable, who would want to work with you?
- Not showing enthusiasm for the company or position. An enthusiastic attitude is always noticed.
While there are exceptions to every rule (think: wearing trouser jeans to a tech company), these are great guides to keep you on track throughout your interview process. “The most important thing is to be self-aware and act like a human. No one is expecting you to be a perfect robot,” says Hichens. “Do your best to show you have a high level of emotional intelligence and can handle difficult situations with grace.”