The Biggest Job Interview Don’ts

As someone who has been on both sides of the job interview process, I understand the importance of making a good impression. However, it’s not just about saying the right things or having the perfect resume – there are certain things you should avoid doing at all costs.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the biggest job interview don’ts that could cost you your dream job.

First impressions are everything, and arriving late or unprepared is a major no-no. It shows a lack of respect for the interviewer’s time and can leave a negative impression before the interview even starts.

Speaking negatively about previous employers is another red flag, as it suggests that you may be difficult to work with or have a negative attitude.

Failing to research the company beforehand can also be detrimental, as it shows a lack of interest in the position and can make you appear unprepared.

Dressing inappropriately can also leave a negative impression, as it shows a lack of professionalism and respect for the interview process.

Finally, using your phone or other devices during the interview can be a major distraction and shows a lack of focus.

By avoiding these don’ts, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in your next job interview.

Key Takeaways

  • Making a good impression in job interviews is important.
  • The five biggest job interview don’ts include arriving late or unprepared, speaking negatively about previous employers, failing to research the company, dressing inappropriately, and using phone or other devices during the interview.
  • Dressing appropriately for the job interview involves dressing one level above dress code, avoiding flashy or distracting clothing, making sure clothes are clean and fit properly, keeping hair and makeup neat and understated, and ensuring shoes are clean and polished.
  • Following up after an interview with a thank-you email or note within 24 hours can make a big difference in showing dedication and enthusiasm for the position, and forgetting to follow up or not showing interest can cost you the job.

Arriving Late or Unprepared

Don’t even think about showing up late or unprepared to your job interview, it’s an instant turn-off for any employer.

Effective communication is key in any job interview and arriving late or unprepared sends the message that you don’t value the employer’s time or the opportunity to interview for the position.

Body language is also an important factor to consider during a job interview. Arriving late or unprepared can lead to nervousness, which can be reflected in your body language.

Slouching, fidgeting, or avoiding eye contact can all send negative signals to the employer.

It’s important to arrive on time, well-prepared, and with a confident and engaged demeanor to make a positive impression and increase your chances of landing the job.

Speaking Negatively about Previous Employers

Speaking negatively about past bosses or coworkers can hurt your chances of getting hired. It’s understandable to have had negative experiences in the workplace, but it’s important to remember that badmouthing past employers during a job interview can reflect poorly on you and your professionalism.

To avoid negativity, focus on discussing your own experiences and accomplishments rather than criticizing others. If asked about a difficult experience with a past employer, try to frame it in a constructive way by discussing what you learned from the situation and how you have grown as a result. By maintaining professionalism and avoiding negative comments, you can present yourself as a positive and valuable candidate for the position.

Demonstrates ability to handle difficult situationsCan come across as bitter or unprofessional
Shows willingness to learn and grow from past experiencesMay raise questions about your ability to work well with others
Highlights your problem-solving skillsCan make the interviewer uncomfortable or defensive

Failing to Research the Company

It’s crucial to conduct research on the company before a job interview to demonstrate your interest and knowledge of the organization’s values and goals. Not doing so can make you appear unprepared and disinterested in the position.

By researching the company, you can gain a better understanding of the company culture, which can help you tailor your answers to the interview questions and showcase how you can contribute to the company’s success.

Moreover, understanding the company culture can also help you determine if the company is a good fit for you. You can learn about the company’s mission statement, work environment, and employee benefits, which can give you a better idea of what it’s like to work there. This can help you decide if the company aligns with your career goals and if the position is the right fit for you.

Overall, taking the time to research the company before a job interview can not only help you prepare for the interview but also help you make an informed decision about your career path.

Dressing Inappropriately

Wearing casual clothing, such as ripped jeans or a t-shirt, to a job interview can give off an unprofessional impression. As someone who’s interviewed countless candidates, I can attest that dressing appropriately can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived by the interviewer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to dressing for a job interview:

  • Always dress one level above the dress code policies of the company.
  • Avoid wearing anything too flashy or distracting, such as large jewelry or bold patterns.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed, and fit properly.
  • Keep your hair and makeup neat and understated.
  • Don’t forget about your shoes – they should be clean and polished.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that you make a positive first impression and show the interviewer that you take the opportunity seriously. Remember, dressing appropriately is just one way to show your professionalism and attention to detail.

Using Your Phone or Other Devices During the Interview

Glancing down at your phone or other devices during an interview can give the impression that you’re not fully present or engaged in the conversation. It can be tempting to check your notifications or emails, but it’s crucial to remember that phone etiquette is important in a professional setting.

Using your phone during an interview can be a major distraction that can easily derail the conversation and ruin your chances of landing the job. In addition to being a distraction, using your phone during an interview can also affect your body language and eye contact.

It’s important to maintain eye contact with the interviewer to show that you’re interested in the position and engaged in the conversation. On the other hand, constantly checking your phone can give the impression that you’re disinterested or unprepared. To avoid this, make sure to turn off your phone or put it on silent before the interview and keep it out of sight to eliminate any potential distractions.

Remember, your focus and attention should be solely on the interviewer and the conversation at hand.

Being Overly Nervous or Anxious

Don’t let your nerves get the best of you during the interview – take deep breaths and remind yourself of your qualifications to help stay calm and confident. It’s completely normal to feel anxious before and during an interview, but there are ways to manage your nerves and project confidence.

Here are some tips for managing interview anxiety:

  • Prepare and practice: Rehearse your responses to common interview questions, which can help you feel more comfortable and confident. It’s also a good idea to research the company and the position you’re interviewing for, so you can ask informed questions and demonstrate your interest.
  • Visualize success: Imagine yourself acing the interview and getting the job. Visualization can help you feel more positive and confident about the outcome.

In addition to these tips, there are also techniques for projecting confidence during an interview:

  • Use body language: Sit up straight, make eye contact, and smile. These nonverbal cues can make a big difference in how you’re perceived by the interviewer.
  • Speak clearly and thoughtfully: Take your time when answering questions, and don’t rush or mumble. If you need a moment to gather your thoughts, it’s okay to pause before responding.

By following these tips and techniques, you can manage your interview anxiety and present yourself as a confident, capable candidate for the job. Remember, the interviewer wants to see you succeed – so take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and show them what you’re capable of.

Lying or Exaggerating Your Qualifications

You may feel tempted to exaggerate your qualifications, but it’s important to be honest during the interview process. The importance of honesty cannot be stressed enough in the job interview. Employers want to hire someone who is truthful and transparent about their skills and abilities. Lying or exaggerating your qualifications may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can have serious consequences.

Exaggerating your qualifications can lead to a number of negative consequences. First and foremost, if you are caught lying, you will almost certainly lose the opportunity for the job. Even if you are not caught, your lack of qualifications will eventually become apparent, leading to poor job performance and potential termination. Additionally, exaggeration can damage your reputation and credibility, not only with the employer but also with future employers. It’s always better to be honest about your qualifications and work hard to improve them rather than trying to deceive your way into a job.

Not Asking Questions or Showing Interest in the Company

Take a moment to show your interest in the company by asking thoughtful questions during the interview. Not asking any questions can be a major mistake that can cost you the job. It shows that you lack interest in the company and the position, and that you haven’t done your research beforehand.

To avoid this, make sure you prepare a list of well-thought-out questions to ask during the interview. Here are some examples of questions that can help you show your interest in the company and its culture:

  • Can you tell me more about the company culture and values?
  • How do you see the company evolving in the next few years?
  • What are some of the industry trends that the company is currently focusing on?

Remember, asking questions doesn’t just show your interest in the company, it also allows you to gather valuable information about the position and the company’s expectations. So, do your research, prepare your questions, and show your enthusiasm for the job.

Focusing Too Much on Salary or Benefits

It’s important to remember that while salary and benefits are important, they shouldn’t be the sole focus during the interview process. Negotiating expectations is a natural part of any job interview, but it’s important to approach it in a thoughtful way. Focusing too much on salary or benefits could give the impression that you’re only in it for the money, and not interested in the company or the role itself.

When considering a job offer, it’s important to think about more than just the financial compensation. Company culture fit is also an important factor to consider. A company’s culture can influence your job satisfaction and overall success in the role. During the interview process, it’s important to ask questions about the company culture and values to determine if it aligns with your own beliefs and work style. By taking a more holistic approach to the interview process, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision that’s right for both you and the company.

Forgetting to Follow Up After the Interview

After an interview, it’s crucial to remember to follow up with the interviewer or hiring manager to express gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position. This can be done through a thank-you email or note, which should be sent within 24 hours of the interview.

In the email or note, you should thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and restate your interest in the position. This is also a great opportunity to address any concerns or questions that may have come up during the interview.

When following up, it’s important to keep it professional and concise. Avoid sending multiple emails or calling excessively, as this can come across as pushy or desperate.

Instead, wait a few days after sending the initial thank-you note and then follow up with a brief email inquiring about the status of the hiring process.

Remember, following up effectively can make a big difference in showing your dedication and enthusiasm for the position. Don’t forget the importance of thank you notes in the interview process, as they can help set you apart from other candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some appropriate ways to follow up after a job interview?

After a job interview, it’s important to send a Thank You email within 24 hours. If you haven’t heard back, follow up with a brief and polite phone call to reiterate your interest in the position.

How can one balance showing interest in salary and benefits without focusing too much on them during the interview?

During the interview, I express my interest in the company culture first. When asked about salary expectations, I mention my research on market rates and express openness to negotiation based on the company’s compensation philosophy.

What are some common mistakes made by interviewees when researching a company before the interview?

I’ve learned the hard way that company research pitfalls can derail an interview. Pre-interview preparation tips include not only studying the company’s website but also checking social media and industry news to stay up-to-date.

How can one manage nerves or anxiety during a job interview?

When I feel nervous during a job interview, I use deep breathing techniques and visualization exercises. I focus on my strengths and accomplishments to boost my confidence. It helps me stay calm and present in the moment.

What are some potential consequences of lying or exaggerating qualifications during a job interview?

Lying or exaggerating during a job interview can have severe consequences, such as losing the opportunity and damaging your reputation. Prevention involves honesty and preparation, boosting confidence in your genuine qualifications.


Overall, when it comes to job interviews, it’s important to remember the biggest don’ts.

Arriving late or unprepared can set a negative tone for the entire interview, while speaking negatively about previous employers can make you come across as unprofessional.

Failing to research the company can show a lack of interest and enthusiasm, and dressing inappropriately can be a distraction.

Using your phone or other devices during the interview can give the impression that you’re not fully engaged.

Lying or exaggerating your qualifications can ultimately harm your chances of landing the job.

Finally, not asking questions or showing interest in the company can make you seem disinterested, while focusing too much on salary or benefits can make you come across as greedy.

Remembering these don’ts and avoiding them can help you make a positive impression and increase your chances of success in your job search.

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