Have you ever received a call to schedule an interview with a company and thought, “I’m so glad I have the opportunity to interview for my dream job! How can I ruin my chances of receiving this job offer?”
Of course you haven’t!
Even though no one actively tries to undermine their professionalism, there are certain things you can do on interview day that will automatically make employers pass on you –even if you are the best candidate for the role.
If you are interested in prolonging your job search indefinitely, here are 5 things you can do during your interview to make sure that happens:
1. Show Up Late
Punctuality lets an interviewer know you are well-organized, professional, and respectful of their time. If something comes up that will cause you to be late, call ahead to inform your interviewer.
2. Bring Someone Else
We all have lives outside of our professional aspirations, but the invitation to interview does not come with a +1.
Having a friend or parent tag along to your interview will leave prospective employers with doubts you are capable of handling the responsibilities of the job by yourself.
If there is a reason you can’t travel to the interview alone (your car broke down, for example), it’s best to have the other person wait in the car.
3. Don't Bring a Resume
Yes, we live in the golden age of technology, but it is still customary to bring a paper resume with you on an interview.
You may think telling an interviewer something to the effect of, “I didn’t bring my resume with me because you already have a copy from when I applied to the job”, comes across as resourceful — or even ecofriendly — but in reality, it is a giant red flag to interviewers you are disorganized and do not care if they are equipped with the necessary tools to hold a successful interview with you–and if you don’t care, why should they?
In addition to appearing prepared, many online job boards reformat your resume when you apply to a position. If you want to control all aspects of your presentation, it is best to always keep a few hard-copies of your resume on hand.
4. Be Too Casual
A cheerful and friendly disposition can go a long way in an interview, but being overly friendly can come across as unprofessional; it may also appear to interviewers that you are not taking this job opportunity seriously.
Being friendly toward someone and being friends with someone are two very different things.
Stick to answering the questions asked, and don’t overshare during your responses. Avoid using profanity and familiar terms like “dude” or “bro” when addressing your interviewer.
5. Forget Your Surroundings
A poor environment will instantly kill the professional tone of your virtual or phone interview. Aside from being a distraction, poor surroudnings can visually communicate things you don’t want to communicate to your interviewer. (Think: messsy room, children playing in the background, dressing in sweatpants, etc.)
Pick a quiet and well-lit place to conduct your interview. If it is a virutal interview, make sure your surroundings are clean and you are dressed as though you were meeting them in person.
In addition to these 5 major ways to tank your interview, there are additional things you can do during your interview that will immediately negate all the hard work you put into getting this far in the selection process.
- Dress too casually
- Speaking negatively about previous companies, managers or coworkers
- Using slang
- Asking your interviewer to “hold on” while you wrap up a phone call
- Texting during the interview
- Blaming discrepancies in your work history on the person who wrote your resume
- Having a virtual interview while driving, making a sandwich, lying in bed, or on a smoke break at your current job
- Asking questions that have already been answered throughout the vetting and interview process
- Providing too vague of answers to an interviewer’s questions
- Reading directly from your resume
- Sharing too much personal information
- Poor hygiene
- Not knowing who you are interviewing with, nor the position you are interviewing for
- Asking, “Are we done yet?”
- Lying in the interview
To Nail Your Interview
On the other hand, if you are looking to make your next interview as successful as possible, be sure you do the following:
- Research the company and the position beforehand
- Know what’s on your resume
- Arrive on time
- Dress professionally
- Bring multiple copies of your resume
- Pay attention during the interview and take notes!
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Be courteous and professional
- Send a thank you letter when your interview is over