Job interviews can be super stressful. With all the pressure to do everything right, it’s easy to slip up and make a mistake or two. Interviewers are people too — they understand that people make mistakes, and they can be forgiving of a small slip up or two.
But here’s the kicker:
There are some mistakes you can make during an interview that are so bad, they can make your interviewer completely hate you and disqualify you from the hiring process.
Is that scary enough for you? Don’t panic! Just keep reading to learn the 12 things you can do during an interview that will make employers hate you, and what you should do instead:
Well all know that it’s proper interview etiquette to show up early, and you’d look like a dang fool if you did otherwise — but did you know that it’s possible to get to an interview too early?
Showing up to an interview way too early can make you look like almost as much of a jerk as showing up late. When you get there way ahead of time, you put pressure on your interviewer to drop whatever they’re doing and cater to you, or they’re going to feel guilty for making you wait in the lobby for 20 minutes.
Plus, when you show up to an interview 40 minutes before it’s scheduled to start, you’re basically telling employers “Hi, I have literally nothing else going on in my life, so I’m just going to hang out right here for an hour.”
Try to get there 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. If you show up any earlier, wait in the parking lot or in a nearby coffee shop until you’re closer to your interview time.
We all know that getting to an interview late is a death sentence, but it’s worth repeating: Never. Be. Late. For. Your. Interview. Being late is disrespectful to the interviewer’s time, and it shows that you have poor planning skills.
Plus, showing up late will set the tone for the rest of your interview, and it would pretty difficult to recover from such a setback.
While you should definitely prepare to answer the most common questions you can expect to hear during an interview, you should try to avoid memorizing a detailed script and focusing on rehashing your answers verbatim.
You should be focused on engaging with your interviewer and forming a genuine connection with them. If you answer questions by reciting from a memorized script, you’ll just come off as detached.
Have your general answers ready in your mind, but leave some room for improvisation so you can have an actual conversation with your interviewer. Employers like people who are personable and good communicators — not robots.
When interviewers meet you, they want to know what you can do for them and their company. How can you make them money, improve their processes, help them grow, and make their lives easier?
With that being said, you should hold back on asking questions about salary, benefits, and vacation time until later in the hiring process. These questions are appropriate when you get the job offer, but until that time comes, leave them out of the conversation.
If you bring up these questions, the company will be able to see that you’re more interested in the perks of the job rather than being a contributing employee, and that’s not going to get you much further than a first interview.
During an interview, you’re probably going to focused on trying to get out as much information about yourself as possible to make the company want to hire you. However, taking a break to listen and give the interviewer your full attention will get you much further than blabbering on forever about how great you are.
Being too chatty and not giving the interviewer the chance to get a word in edgewise may signal that you’re impossible to manage, or that you’d be distracting to other employees. So, for your sake and your interviewer’s, just take a breath and listen.
You should never say anything negative about former bosses during an interview — in fact, that would be a huge rookie mistake. If you jump at the chance to trash your previous bosses, interviewers may think you’d say the same thing about them in the future.
Another thing about interview questions regarding previous employers — they’re always a trick question. Interviewers want to see how you handle sticky situations, and questions about former employers can be pretty telling, so just play nice.
Whether you like the way they look or not, keep your comments to yourself. If you’re concerned about awkward silences and want to fill the dead air, stick to safe interview small talk topics, like observations about the company, or asking about what they’re currently working on.
Making comments about someone’s appearance is rude and shows interviewers that you have no filter or understanding of social cues. If you want to get the job, just stick to the safe topics.
You’re not using your manners at a potentially life-changing event like a job interview? Your mother would be ashamed.
For one thing, you should always send a thank you note to your interviewer within one business day of your meeting, but you should also thank them enthusiastically in person before you leave the premises, and be polite throughout the interview.
It might sound crazy, but there are people in the world who think that involving their daddy in the hiring process can get them whatever they want. Bringing your parents to the interview or having a parent call or email an employer to negotiate a job offer is a big no-no.
Leave mommy and daddy out of your job search — it doesn’t make you look independent or capable, and it shows employers that you need someone to hold your hand throughout every major event in your life.
Even if you’re interviewing with a super casual, fun-loving company, you should still remember that you’re at an interview and every single thing you say is constantly being judged. So don’t mention your lingering hangover or the fact that your fancy interview outfit is giving you a major wedgie.
Be friendly and make conversation, but don’t go overboard. You want to show them that you’ll fit into their company culture, but you don’t want them to think you have no common decency.
Even if this is your first rodeo, it shouldn’t be so obvious that the interviewer can tell right away. Don’t go into the interview empty-handed and clueless about the company, and don’t expect that you can just wing it. Believe us, you can’t.
Show up to your interview with the necessary materials, background knowledge of the company, and examples to back up your answers to their questions. Bonus tip: don’t check your phone. In fact, you should just turn it completely off.
If you have your heart set on working at a specific company, show your interest by tailoring your resume and applying to the job you’re most qualified for, not every single open position.
Applying to every available job at a company is a waste of your time and the company’s. It shows that you’re not serious the positions, and that you just need a job — any job! Limit your applications to the jobs that you have the required qualifications for.
An interview is a big moment to prove yourself. You want to prove that you’re capable of doing the job, not that you’re super annoying and lacking of all professionalism.
Employers don’t go into interviews looking for reasons to not hire you, in fact, they go into every interview hoping that they’re about to meet the best candidate for the job. You want to do everything you can to show them that you’re that candidate.
If you follow these tips, you’ll surely make a great impression on the interviewer, and get the job!