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Things You Should Never Do In an Interview

Remove some of the stress of the interview process by remembering the things you should never do in an interview.

By Leila ParkerPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

If you have reached the interview stage then your resume, cover letter and application have impressed the recruiter, and all that stands between you and a job is the interview. At this stage, it’s important not to give the wrong impression. To help you succeed at your next interview, here are some things you should never do in an interview.

Don't Show Up Unprepared

Learn about the company you have an interview for. Be prepared to explain why you want to work for the company and why you applied for the job. It may be useful to review the cover letter you sent with your application. Researching before an interview will also make you feel more confident and will calm your nerves in the interview. Don’t worry about knowing too much, a good rule of thumb is to research 150 percent of what you need to know so that you are better able to answer the interviewer’s questions. Also prepare questions yourself to ask the interviewer. An interview is a chance for both you and the potential employer to see if you are good fit for the company. It’s a great chance to find out more about the role itself, your potential workplace, and the management. Interviewers always look for questions, as they show your motivation and eagerness to learn about the position.

If you have been asked to prepare any paperwork for the interview, such as tests or application forms, make sure these have been done and if possible bring a USB drive or put them on a digital locker such as OneDrive (some companies have policies against external USB sticks). It’s also a good idea to bring additional copies of your resume, just in case.

Don't Lie

Be yourself in an interview and don’t tell lies. This includes exaggerating your skills and experience. Lies are easy to see through, and can easily mean that you miss out on the job or worse, get fired later. Be sure to be honest and yourself, and it’s fine to be nervous but don’t use lies to cover that up. If you have a tendency to tell white lies—correct yourself immediately if you notice yourself slip up. Any lie has the potential to damage your reputation and harm your employment prospects in the long run, so don’t do it. Business networks are often bigger than you think and if you work as a professional this can do untold damage to your future.

Don’t underestimate the danger of a white lie. They have the ability to scale out of control very quickly and cause great damage. Act with integrity and avoid this from happening; this is perhaps the most important thing not to do in an interview.

Don't Say You Want the Job For Experience

Few things are worse than saying that you only want a job for experience. To impress an interviewer you need to show that you want the job for more than just a line on your resume. Interviewers want to see motivation from those they are interviewing and they are often looking for candidates who want to work at the company long term. Resume builders tend to be loose footed and don’t stay at any company for too long. Connect with your values and only apply for the jobs that you really want. Working in a job just for experience is a sure-fire way to end up in a career funk.

Don't Disrespect the Interviewer

Show respect for the interviewer by coming to the interview well dressed and on-time. It’s possible that the interviewer could be younger than you and not have experience within your specific field—it’s common in many companies for interviews to be held by an employee within the HR department—so understand that they might now know much about the skills you have or your background. It’s a big no-no to talk down to any recruiter on this.

Show manners to the interviewer. Don’t fidget during the interview, keep your phone in your pocket, and keep your attention purely focused on them. Dress plays a big role in first impressions, so ensure that you are looking great for the interview and have taken care in your appearance—make sure that your clothes are ironed and apply a little more deodorant than normal (you sweat more when you are nervous).

Think about your language. Complaining about your past work experience and using foul language during the interview is almost never acceptable and will not win you any points. Be kind and courteous to the interviewer, not sitting until you are told to do so, and remain professional at all times. Put yourself in the interviewer’s position when thinking about things you should never do in an interview.

Don't Go Off Topic

When you are in an interview it’s easy to try and lead the conversation to a topic that you want to talk about. Always ensure that you are answering the interviewer's questions in a clear and direct way. Take a little time to think before speaking after listening to every question. This will stop you from giving unclear answers which don’t answer the question properly. If you are unsure of the question, ask the interviewer to repeat it and only start speaking when you are sure of what you are going to say.

Good luck at your next interview. If you have made it to the interview stage you are almost there. Keep the ball rolling in your favor by avoiding the things you should never do in an interview.


About the Creator

Leila Parker

Newly graduated Industrial-Organizational Psychologist. I'm a cyclist who works, thinks and writes about workplace culture, behavior and self-motivation.

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