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6 Ways You Can Blow the Job Interview Even Before You Meet Your Interviewer

You’ve received the call for an on-site interview and you are all excited about meeting and impressing the interviewers. But the way you behave outside the interview room also makes a big difference to your candidature and can easily impact the hiring decision. Here's how to make sure you're not giving the wrong impression to potential co-workers while you're waiting to meet the hiring manager.

You’ve received the call for an on-site interview and you are all excited about meeting and impressing the interviewers. But the way you behave outside the interview room also makes a big difference to your candidature and can easily impact the hiring decision. Here’s how to make sure you’re not giving the wrong impression to potential co-workers while you’re waiting to meet the hiring manager.

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  • 1. You arrive late for your interview: Unless you have a compelling reason, like an unavoidable personal emergency — and it should be really unavoidable — don’t be late. It reflects badly on your professional behavior and work ethic. If you must be late, call your recruiter ahead of time and let him/her know. Follow up with an apology to your interviewers and share that you are genuinely still interested in the job and offer a new schedule that accommodates the needs of the interviewers.
  • 2. You are not appropriately dressed for the job: No, this is not about dressing up in a suit or showing up in casuals; it’s about not following the dress code of the organization you are applying to. Going over-dressed or too casually dressed both work against you. Ask your recruiter or point of contact in the organization ahead of time for advice on the dress code and adhere to it.
  • 3. Your body language isn’t friendly: You don’t make eye contact, don’t smile, don’t shake hands, have a loose grip, or your hands are firmly locked against your chest. Knowingly or unknowingly the physical cues you send out speak volumes about your personality. If you are completely closed, then you are sending signals across that you are not a team player, do not like interacting with people and lack basic courtesies.
  • 4. You are rude to the support staff: Just because the receptionist or the recruiting coordinator is not interviewing you, does not mean you can be rude or condescending toward them. As Alison Green notes in US News, “Many interviewers will ask the receptionist what they think of you. If you were rude or arrogant, that’s usually a deal-breaker.”
  • 5. You use inappropriate language: This is your first interaction with people in the office and if you use profanity, swear, or use inappropriate words, you are instantaneously judged and the decision on your candidature is already made. You will not get a call back.
  • 6. You badmouth your employer: Even if it is a water cooler discussion or an informal chat with your coordinator before the interview starts, if you bad-mouth your employer or criticize your previous manager, it shows that you lack a sense of discretion and professional decorum.

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Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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Jim
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Jim

I have been in human resources for over 20 years. Reading some of these comments you can easily see why some people DON’T get hired. Some of the people say this article is all common sense, but you would be surprised how uncommon common sense is. Qualifications and experience mean a lot unless you blow the interview. If you walk in with an attitude or think you are going to come in and dictate to me how to run my interview- you’re not getting the job. If you come in with the attitude. it usually comes out. There are keys… Read more »

Paula Jacobs
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Paula Jacobs

I find it very easy to interview with anyone( likeable or not) if you believe you are happy to have this opportunity to talk, and relay this in your attitude. Ever watch people walk into a party, or social function- they are smiling, friendly, relaxed and ready to talk. Not the party girl type presence, but a pleasant ” thanks for the invite” type attitude that translates into your conversation. This will give you a personable feel and not the military- ridged fear look which is uncomfortable for all to bear. Pretending is ok as we all do in social… Read more »

hf
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hf

I usually make sure a make a tailored resume for each job, and in the objective section I will put exactly the position name and reference or job number for the company, in the cv, i will usually tailor that as well to the company I am applying to, and giving the resume to. online I keep my resume very breif no cv letter. and I do not list more than the last 2 to 3 jobs. but in my experience and qualifications I will only use the keywords they had online for the job description. I have always gotten… Read more »

Frank
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Frank

“Candidacy” is much more common than “candidature”.

Hisham
Guest
Hisham

Being honest is the first thing interviewer sense. Giving the honest reason of leave whether the salary is inappropriate or your manager is a bastard is the best thing to do rather than that rubbish about enhancing my career or exploring myself in a new place.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Wow, did all six of those and got the job.

Alicia
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Alicia

Just wondering if it was intentional to have the words “blow” and “job” in the article title!

Matt
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Matt

This **** is common sense…really people?

Courtney
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Courtney

Valeri,

I have recently separated from the military and am finding it incredibly difficult to get a job. So for those of us who have the experience and a degree what would you say is the reason we have such a difficult time finding employment?

Carl J. Armstrong Jr.
Guest
Carl J. Armstrong Jr.

@Valerie: “Here is another no-no. You apply for a position and your resume does not fit the position being advertised. I have often reviewed resumes for an Assistant in Municipal government and received resumes from those who had little or no office experience and absolutely no government experience. Those applying have had experience in jobs such as waitress, cashier, and concierge. I feel that this wastes both the employer’s and the applicant’s time.” Just wondering, but outside the US military, how do you get government experience without getting a government job first? Especially city government. I mean, I guess you… Read more »

Darrin
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Darrin

My apologies. Of course after reading some of your comments this information is valuable to some people, for example the lady who works with homeless people could and should share this information with them. Those who work with young people could also use this information to share with them. But some of us who commented here are recruiters and I simply (no arrogantly and insensitively and stupidly) overlooked that fact.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

What are your thoughts on being over qualified for a position?
I just was interviewed for a position and was told I was over qualified however the job would give me some new skills therefore I asked if the low pay could be bumped up to accommodate. They are getting back to me and the interview (HR) was receptive to the idea.
Thoughts?

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

Here is another no-no. You apply for a position and your resume does not fit the position being advertised. I have often reviewed resumes for an Assistant in Municipal government and received resumes from those who had little or no office experience and absolutely no government experience. Those applying have had experience in jobs such as waitress, cashier, and concierge. I feel that this wastes both the employer’s and the applicant’s time.

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I work with homeless Vets and you would be amazed ( or maybe not) how many of them do the no-no’s of interviews. I always have to tell them if you were a recruiter do you want to hear from a candidate that said that they hated their boss and that they feel that the boss would be better if they weren’t so up tight and that they need to get laid? Yeah no. Not appropriate. Don’t say anything negative. But I have had really rude interviewers as well. Also always have a thank you card or letter either send… Read more »

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

I agree with James. Also because I had the exact same experience just last Friday, the employer kept making phone calls and interrupting me when I spoke, She also had 3 clients in the same coffee shop she suggested we should meet which she kept interrupting me to go an check on her clients who were waiting for her. Recruiters these days have no commone Decency. Before she even ask me any questions the first thing she told me with a very stern attitude is that what she hates about interviews is when the candidate looks and acts so presentable,… Read more »

Diane
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Diane

Research the company before the interview and be knowlegable of the companies roots and founders. Doing this shows you have done your homework and that you are actually interested. You can compare yourself against the research you’ve done, showing what an excellent candidate you are.

Also to add to what Leslie said … turn your phone off, not just on silent. Sometimes alarms or other notifications sound even if your phone is silenced.

Good luck everyone!

Charlie Myre
Guest
Charlie Myre

I’d rather hire someone who is qualified and see who they really are that looking at someone who is uncomfortable behaving in a way that is not who they are….

VGH
Guest
VGH

Ask questions at the end of the interview. You score extra points.

Lois
Guest
Lois

Evidently the commenters are not recruiters. There are 1000’s of people who should read this article. It sounds like many of you have good advice you could share with others. I like Leslie’s comment. Could all of you add your advice?

Darrin
Guest
Darrin

Are you kidding me? These tips qualify as print worthy on PayScale. I don’t read articles here often. Thanks for reminding me why.

Celia
Guest
Celia

There’s always someone who will criticize. Very funny.

Yirmin
Guest
Yirmin

@Barrie… you never say you prefer not to comment, you simply state that you feel you have reached a point where you want new challenges or some crap like that…

gerard
Guest
gerard

This is not a helpful article for learned individuals. Really are you serious? I guess this article is intended for high school students seeking employment for the first time.

James
Guest
James

Such bullshit, qualifications and experience does not mean you will get the job! Someone’s buddy needs a job and is related to some supervisor who was placed in that position because he plays golf with him on the weekends! Corporate america stinks! After your interview, look him straight in the eye then bitch slap him or her and then say “I have no tattoos that cannot be hidden and stop waisting my time!” Went on an interview and the person doing the interview answered his phone three times in a matter of fifteen minutes. I got up and stated; ”… Read more »

Antonio
Guest
Antonio

Very basic hints. Not usefull for somone with 20 years experience…Maybe for someone looking for a first job, but even so this is pretty basic…

Barrie Robertson
Guest
Barrie Robertson

When your previous manager was really out of his element as a manager and made many bad decisions and used inappropriate language, should I say that I disagreed with the previous manager’s decisions or that I prefer not to comment.

leslie
Guest
leslie

Put your cellphone on silent and don’t fiddle with it when you are waiting. It is rude.

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