What NOT to Do in an Interview

Posted: March 27, 2014

For many job-seekers, the most stressful part of the hiring process is the interview. Knowing that your future career can depend on 30 minutes of questioning can certainly be nerve-wracking! To increase your confidence, try focusing on the things you know you can control. A big part of this is being able to identify distracting behaviors that could even result in you not getting the job. Obsessive pen-clickers, read on…

Here is a list of 4 things NOT to do in an interview:

1.       Arriving underdressed – interview attire is important and is an immediate impression on the interviewer. If you aren’t dressed appropriately, it can be a distraction and even can be detrimental. The rule of thumb is it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Business professional (see past blogs “Men’s Professional Attire and Women’s Professional Attire) is almost always appropriate. If the company expects different attire from the norm, they will likely inform you of that prior to the interview. For example, if your interview includes a tour of a manufacturing plant, they may want you to dress more for safety. If you have any questions about what to wear, do not hesitate to ask your contact at the company.

2.       Being too casual with the interviewer – you should always exude professionalism in an interview situation. Being friendly is great; being their “buddy” is not. Be sure to address the interviewer as “Mr or Ms” until they tell you otherwise. Have a firm handshake. Check your posture to make sure you come across engaged and interested. Some jobs require the ability to interact with all levels of an organization, including executive leadership. You want to demonstrate this ability by being professional and courteous to every person you interact with.

3.       Distracting the interviewer with nervous habits – pen clicking, darting eyes, and lots of “ummms” and “likes” can really divert the interviewer from your message. These are usually anxious habits, so they can be hard to break in a nerve-wracking situation like an interview. If you feel like these habits might be your downfall, come in to ECS for a mock interview or record yourself responding to interview questions using the Impress mock interview module in CareerEngine. That way you can get feedback on any distracting behaviors, which is hugely important in avoiding them.

4.       Using your resume as a “crutch” – you should know your resume forwards and backwards before going into an interview. After all, it is a list of your own accomplishments! Having your resume in front of you and constantly looking at it can be a distraction to you and the employer. If you are concerned about not remembering to bring up an important experience, write down a few key words on your notepad to help trigger your memory.

Remember, these are all things you have the ability to CONTROL! Take some of the stress out of interviewing by making sure you are familiar with the proper protocol. 

"Some folks are wise and some are otherwise."
-Tobias Smollett