Four Things You Should Never Do During A Job Interview

As you prepare for your job interview, it’s important to remember that you are being observed from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave the building. This isn’t meant to scare you, just remind you that your words and actions matter. Hiring Managers are looking for the right skills and the right culture fit, so small things might mean the difference between getting the job and going back to the drawing board. So what are the types of things that may turn off your Hiring Manager during an otherwise strong interview? Here are four red flags to avoid:

Complaining About Your Commute 

A good rule of thumb during an interview is to never elongate an answer when you don’t have to. Once you’ve satisfactorily answered a question, stop talking and start listening. This is easier said than done, practice in conversations with friends and family. It’s the tangents that get you in trouble. Take small talk for example. When you first shake hands with the Hiring Manager, they will likely make some small talk as you walk to their office. Be careful with this, especially if they ask you how your drive was, or whether you had an issue finding the building, as it can raise red flags depending on your answer. If you start talking about how stressful the drive was, or how you barely made it on time, it may bring up questions about your ability to plan or if this type of commute may impact your productivity. A simple “I planned my route last night so I would get here in plenty of time” will do, as it answers the question cleanly, and shows that you were proactive in your planning.

Speaking Ill of Your Former Boss/Company

It’s good to give honest answers during an interview, but being too honest can lead to trouble. If you didn’t like your last employer, or you couldn’t stand your boss, don’t bring it up during your interview. You don’t have to shower them with false praise, but you don’t want to put them on blast either. A Hiring Manager may perceive disparaging reviews as negative character attribute, or ponder if they may fall victim to such a review in the future.  Put some thought into how to answer questions positively.  Instead of saying “The work environment was disorganized because of our leadership team” You could say, “the work environment provided plenty of challenges to overcome and I enjoy providing solutions” When facing these types of situations, keep things positive and move on to the next question.

Talking About How Nervous You Are

Despite what people may have heard, Hiring Managers give candidates a good amount of leeway when it comes to nerves. As long as you excel in other areas, a hint of nervous energy isn’t going to cost you the job. This doesn’t mean you should make your nerves the topic of conversation though. Making a big deal about them can bring into question whether you did enough prep work, or whether you can properly handle stressful situations. Additionally, your nerves may not be as noticeable to them as they are to you, so you may be drawing attention to something they didn’t even notice before you mentioned it.

Glancing At Your Watch 

Are you bored? Do you have someplace you’d rather be during this interview? Are you even taking this seriously? These are some of the questions that a Hiring Manager may be asking themselves if they catch you checking your watch during the interview. Companies want to hire focused individuals, and if you can’t make it through an interview without being distracted, it’s not going to give them confidence in your ability to focus on projects at work. Unless you absolutely need your watch to complete an outfit, leave it at home so you completely take away the temptation to peek. Checking your phone is even worse, for reasons you should find obvious.

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