The Six Things You Should Not Do in a Job Interview

In an era where more and more people are increasingly chopping and changing between jobs, and fewer people are staying in the same companies for prolonged periods of time, the question of job interviews is considerable. Increasingly are we finding ourselves in this situation. But the nature of these job interview scenarios can often seem paradoxical. In theory the obvious practice is to demonstrate just why you deserve the job ahead of those around you. Yet, contradictorily, it is often the case that it’s something which you do do that will ruin your chances of getting your dream job.

Read through our six key points and ensure that, next time, you get that job.


1. Arrive late

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Arriving late to a job interview not only indicates a lack of genuine interest, but also suggests to your potential employer that you cannot organise yourself as a whole. Avoiding even the slightest hint of personal disorganisation is paramount to your chances of finally getting the job that you really want. To ensure that this perfectly avoidable situation doesn’t occur, arrive ten minutes early (But not any earlier than that. Punctuality is key).


2. Poor body language

Regardless of how well prepared you are, of how thoughtful and intelligent your answers are, if your body language suggests anything other than 100% interest then it’s guaranteed that you will not get the job. Absolutely important is that you maintain composure from the moment you enter the building to the instant you get back in your car to leave. This is harder than it seems, and is especially significant in more challenging moments, such as dealing with a question that you perhaps don’t like, or struggle to contend with.


3. Self-aggrandise

There is a very fine line between confidence and cockiness. Of all the fine lines – and there are many – this one must not be crossed. Understanding the difference between demonstrating self-confidence and just blowing your own horn is of the utmost importance. Consider this beforehand. Decide what your main strong points are and think about a way to express these without sounding too pleased with yourself. You still need to go the extra mile to sell yourself, to show why you believe yourself to be stronger than the competition around you. But be conscious of your limits and use this as an opportunity to also show off your humility.


4. Demonstrate a lack of awareness

Not only should you show awareness of your strengths, but equally important is that you demonstrate an appreciation of the areas in which you could improve. Being ‘aware’ as a whole is pivotal to your chances. This means understanding how you, as a professional, could grow, along with being sufficiently and actively informed about the company that you’re applying to work for. Showing that you’ve gone out of your way to learn about a company demonstrates your active interest in the job.


5. Be bland

It’s unfortunate to admit it, but the fact is that many people these days are lacking in character. It’s ironic, when you consider that there’s never been so much knowledge about the world available to us at the click of a button, that so many are lacking in ideas and original opinions. This is an area in which there exists a major opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd, to distinguish yourself from those around you. But it’s fundamental to keep in mind that, whilst you should make an effort to demonstrate your character – perhaps something different about you – without being excessive.


6. Fidget

Now, this may seem like an obvious one. In theory we all understand that, whilst you’re sitting there in a job interview, you should always maintain your sense of composure. Yet, like many things, this is far more difficult in practice. Almost all of us fidget in situations which make us nervous (of course, a lot of us fidget anyway) and a job interview is one of the most nerve-wracking scenarios that there is. Very, very easily can you find yourself sitting there playing with the button of our suit-jacket or with a pen on the desk in front. This is exactly why you must make an effort to not do this.


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3 thoughts on “The Six Things You Should Not Do in a Job Interview

  1. Some great tips here!
    Someone once adviced me to bring a pen to an interview, and keep it in my hand, to avoid fiddling.
    Better to just get rid of this habit once and for all, I reckon 🙂

    Thanks for the post, some very interesting reading! Keep up the good work.

  2. @Ronald, as an interviewer myself, I can tell you that the pen ‘trick’ is certainly not a good approach!

    Keep your hands to yourself, if you really struggle to stay calm why not fold them – either on the table or underneath.

    Good luck with your next interview!

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