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10 examples of what not to do in a job interview

A candidate displays what not to do in a job interview.

When considering your next career path and potential future employer, it is critical to make a great first impression. You want to ensure your interview time with a recruiter is beneficial for you both. In order to do this, preparation is key. You never want to be in an interview and not know your stuff.

Imagine the stack of resumes a recruiter will go through in a day to choose you to be the one they want to meet. You beat the odds and made the cut! Now let’s discuss what not to do in a job interview to set you up for success.

What not to do in a job interview

Phone interviews

1. Miss your call

Ensure you are ready before your expected call. Have your ringer on, resume handy and any questions you have set to go.

2. Be around loud noises

Make sure you are in a place that is quiet and has strong cellular connection. It is difficult for a recruiter to obtain the necessary information in the phone interview if there is background noise or if you are cutting in and out due to poor connection.

3. Sound bored

Show excitement in your voice. Smile! It is proven that if you smile when you are talking, your voice reflects that tone with inflections. Recruiters want to hear your excitement and energy about joining the company.

4. Come unprepared

Not knowing the company’s name or what it does is extremely deflating as a recruiter. Research the business via LinkedIn, social media and its website, understand its history and prepare questions ahead of time around the role you are interviewing for.

Additionally, be ready to share real-life examples and scenarios in your interview. The more you practice for your interview, the better you will answer difficult questions. Sharing real-life examples shows you have valuable experience that makes you a good candidate for the job you are applying for.

5. Be distracted

Ensure you are not driving (recruiters can tell when we are on Bluetooth), out shopping, running errands, caring for a child, etc. You want to have your full focus on the conversation vs. other things going on around you.

In-person interviews

6. Arrive late

There are many people who have blocked their calendars to meet with you. Being punctual is critical. Arriving late shows bad office etiquette.

7. Dress casually

Dress to impress. You want to ensure your outfit reflects the role you are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for a professional role, you should wear a suit, dress shirt or blouse and dress shoes. What not to do: show up with jeans and wet hair or look like you just rolled out of bed.

8. Act bored

Do not look disinterested when you meet your interviewers. Give a firm hand shake and look them in the eyes with a smile - show confidence! You made it this far and should be proud. Show them what you have to offer and why they should hire you.

9. Use your cell phone

Do not take your phone out to check messages or answer calls during the interview. This is almost certainly an automatic disqualifier unless an absolute emergency is happening. Turn your phone off or put yourself on ‘do not disturb.’

10. Skip asking questions

When it gets to the end of the interview and you do not ask questions, it makes you look disinterested. However, do not immediately ask the question, “What is the pay for this role?” It may come across that you are more interested in money than the actual opportunity itself.

Prepare a list of great questions to ask prior to going in for the interview.

So, what should you do in an interview?

Now that you know what not to do in a job interview, check out these seven tips so you know exactly what to do to get the job.

About the author
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Ashley is a Corporate Recruiter who started her journey at Schneider in 2015. She is active on the Schneider Women’s Network and leads all social media and video efforts for Corporate Recruiting. Ashley enjoys working on various projects within the organization, ranging from new system integrations and testing applications to creating videos that showcase Schneider and why it is such a great place to work! She is also a mother of four young children and enjoys spending time outdoors and attending her children's' sporting events.

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