Posted June 07, 2013 by

The interview process: What NOT to do

Young man in a job interview with two people

Young man in a job interview with two people. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Even for seasoned job market veterans, looking for a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience. And if you’re conducting your first job search after college, the stress can be especially overwhelming. Still, the chance of accidentally stumbling upon the perfect job is slim. Like it or not, you’re probably going to have to put in some effort in order to line up interviews with potential employers. And even then, nothing is guaranteed. In fact, research shows that there are a variety of ways you can inadvertently blow your hopes of getting hired. Luckily, a small amount of preparation and knowledge of “what not to do” can go a long way. Here are some of the top interview blunders to avoid:


According to Men’s Health News, fidgeting during a job interview can lead potential employers to think that you lack confidence and are unprepared. In fact, a recent study by workforce solutions company Adecco USA found that 26 percent of job applicants were rejected because they seemed antsy during the interview process. In addition to appearing nervous, other fidgety behavior can include texting, answering phone calls and avoiding eye contact. Men’s Health suggests that you practice your interview ahead of time so that your nerves don’t get the best of you.

Being overly casual

In an increasingly casual world, it’s important to remember that a job interview is still a traditional event that should be taken seriously. As was recently pointed out by USA Today, it’s imperative for job seekers to project a professional image. This means wearing professional attire and avoiding the use of slang terms. Acting professional also means leaving pets and parents out of the job interview process. Getting a real job means that you’re an adult, so it’s important to project independence and maturity.

Burning bridges

Occasionally you might end up interviewing for a job that isn’t what you’re looking for. Even if you find out that you’re not interested after the interview has already started, it’s important to conduct yourself appropriately, reports Forbes. This means maintaining a positive attitude and being polite. Forbes also suggests that you think of each interview as a networking event and always leave on a positive note. You never know — projecting a positive image and attitude could lead to another position within the same company or elsewhere.

Following up inappropriately

Sending a thank you note after an interview is a great idea, but it’s important to get it right. According to CBS MoneyWatch, poor penmanship can ruin the effect of the note. Even if you nailed the interview itself, spelling errors and sloppy handwriting can leave a bad impression. In addition to thorough proofreading, MoneyWatch also suggests sending a note to everyone that you meet and not just the hiring manager. Doing so can show that you are interested in becoming a contributing member of the team, and not just a suck-up who is trying to get the job.

By Holly Johnson

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Posted in Advice for Candidates, Career Advice, Interviewing, Research | Tagged Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,