Seven Job Interview Deal Breakers

job interview

We have talked extensively on other blogs about how to get the job interview and ensure your resume portrays you in the best professional light. However, we don’t often discuss what not to do during a job interview. If you haven’t interviewed in a while, here’s a refresher on some of the most common blunders when it comes to the job interview and how to make sure they don’t happen to you.

You show up late

You forget to prep for the drive or don’t allocate enough of a window to avoid unpredictable accidents or frustrating road construction. It’s pretty easy to plug the address into your GPS or your smartphone to get a travel time estimate to your interview location. To play it safe, add another 20 minutes to ensure you aren’t late. Showing up late puts a bad taste in the interviewers’ mouths and demonstrates that you weren’t prepared.

You don’t take your overcoat off

This one comes from personal experience. I networked my way to a senior level sales role about eight years ago and the weather was still a bit chilly. I wore my overcoat right into the building because I showed up just a minute before the job interview (I should have read #1 above). The hiring manager was just walking out to find me when I walked in the door. He walked me back to his office and asked me to sit down.

I sat there for 40+ minutes in my overcoat. He finally asked me why I didn’t take it off before I sat down. He found it unprofessional and made it seem that I wasn’t really interested in talking for a while with him. The moral of the story, leave your coat in the car or take it off as you walk in the door to your interview.

You don’t look professional

This one comes up all the time. If you are going to be the face of an organization and on the front lines, you need to look the part. If you are going to be the receptionist, manager, or leader of an organization, you need to know what the professional look is. Come on people, we have Google and social media that tells us everything about an organization today! If you are going to interview with a very conservative organization, you probably should cover up the full sleeves or take the studs and rings out of the face for the interview.

I’m not suggesting you change who you are, but you should dress professionally for the role you’re interviewing for. After your interview, you will have a better understanding of the culture to see if it is a good fit and you’ll have the opportunity to see what others are wearing at the office. If you’re interviewing for a receptionist at a tattoo shop, feel free to have all of your tattoos on display. If you are interviewing for a VP of Operations, the first interview should be a bit more reserved than normal.

You forget to take the chew/gum out

From personal experience in hiring, this is one of the most frustrating things I see that can easily be avoided. If you chew tobacco, get rid of it before you interview. I promise you that you’ll live through the interview without it. If you are nervous and think that gum helps, it doesn’t. It annoys those having to talk with you. Chew gum up until you walk into the building and get rid of it properly, not spit on the ground outside the door. Have a napkin on hand or find the trash can to get rid of it.

You don’t tell them you want the job

So, my oldest daughter was telling me about an experience she recently had. She went into a business to interview for a job. This was a stretch job for her, but they were willing to train. They asked her why she wanted the job and she said she wasn’t sure if it was right for her. Now, if you find out it isn’t the right job for you, this is the right thing to do. But, if you want the job, you must have a compelling reason why they should take the risk on you.

My daughter wanted the job and wanted to get into the career field, but didn’t have something ready or prepared for this question. Instead,  she said what came to mind at first and it clearly was the wrong answer. Also, with the market the way it is, hiring managers want to hire people that really want to work with the company.

You don’t know what the job is

How could you get the interview and neglected to adequately prepare for it? You know and see every meme on social media about “practice, we talking about practice,” “prepare for your future,” “practice makes perfect,” etc. Yet, you thought you are so good that you don’t need to do any research on the role or the company.

This is one of the first things we talk about with our candidates. What do you know about the role or company? If they don’t do any research, the job interview pretty much dies there. You might be one of the best candidates for the job, but if you don’t care about it enough to do at least 30 minutes of research, shame on you.


Your nerves get the best of you and you forget to stop talking

Nerves are something everyone deals with. Even the hiring manager has nerves for the interview. If you don’t do the proper preparation, you very well might forget to stop talking and prevent the other people in the room to talk. Having someone do a mock interview with you and give you honest feedback will help you to not dominate the conversation. In our industry, this is called “throwing up all over the interview.” That is a bad thing and it will surely guarantee you won’t move forward.

Congrats on getting the interview. Don’t blow it! It was so hard to get the interview after 20+ resume submittals into the “online job portal” aka black hole of nothingness. Why would you overlook some basics and do one of these seven things that will keep you from getting the job? Changing a couple things will help you land the position you have been dreaming about!