9 Errors that will end your chances in a job interview

July 18, 2014 4 mins read
9 Errors that will end your chances in a job interview

Making sure not to commit the following 9 simple errors will drastically increase your chances of getting that next job. Knowing when to smile, knowing what to say, and never sweating are just a few of the tips we will expand upon in this article.

1)  Lose that cheesy grin

Smiling too much in an interview is often interpreted as nervousness and a lack of self-confidence. People who indiscriminately smile at everything appear phoney—something that your interviewer will quickly pick up on. Moderating when you smile will give people the impression that you are cheery, but that you have a bit of depth, too. Only smile when there is something worth smiling about. Practice beforehand in front of a mirror or with a good friend.

2)  Avoid meaningless chit-chat

Your job is to be sufficiently familiar with the organisation you're applying for. Rambling about what happened on last night's episode of Dancing With The Stars or what your favourite blog is is not going to get you the job. Don't get fooled into thinking that you have to talk constantly throughout the entire interview. Find ways in which to introduce topics related to the company you're applying for or the industry to which it belongs. Pockets of well-placed silence are infinitely preferable to filling in time with meaningless babble.

3)  Don't sweat

Wearing a little too much clothing or wearing an undershirt may very well cost you the job. Having sweaty palms, or beads of sweat on your forehead doesn't give a good impression—you're not applying to be a personal trainer.  Employers perceive sweating as a sign of weakness or nervousness. Practice the interview beforehand in front of friends, wearing your chosen interview outfit. There's nothing worse than feeling your shirt stick to your back during an interview.

4)  Don't be a stick in the mud

What interviewers look for above all else are employees who crave new challenges. Being hesitant, or outright refusing certain challenges will set off alarm bells in your interviewer's mind. When preparing for the interview, prepare affirmative responses to hypothetical questions that would make you hesitate, such as questions about whether you'd be interested in a certain task or job.

5)  Don't be petty

Asking where the lunchroom or the conference room is will give the interviewer the impression that you lack preparation and initiative. Prepare. Don't ask questions about routine aspects or functions of a company, such as the position of certain objects, the size of your office, or the company's policy in regards to coffee breaks.

6)  Don't lie

Studies show that employees often lie in the workplace. There is no way that lying is going to get you a job. In an interview, even slight exaggerations count as lying. Don't make that mistake. Don't misrepresent your previous job experiences or embellish your achievements. Be self-confident, but genuine.

7)  Don't mistake your interview for open mic at the comedy club

Humour is highly subjective. Although some candidates find that it's easier to start off an interview with a joke, you have to be careful about your subject material. You most likely don't know enough about your interviewer's sensibilities to know whether a joke will score big, or whether it'll touch a nerve. On the other hand, there's nothing better than a little laughter for breaking the tension of a job interview. An innocuous remark like, "Nice weather for an interview!" will at least earn you a polite chuckle from your interviewer.

8)  Don't waste time

In every interview, every potential employee will have opportunities to pose questions. Ask intelligent questions, be direct, and be perceptive to your interviewer in order to decide when it is appropriate to ask a question. If you ask too many questions that are neither here nor there, the interviewer will think you don't know how to prioritise and are therefore bound to be a waste of the company's time and resources.

9)  Don't be too high-maintenance

If, during an interview, you start discussing the ideal temperature of your office, the kind of chair that is best suited to your lousy back, or how the water cooler must be filled with imported mineral water, chances are your interviewer will flash you a polite smile and show you the door, regardless of your qualifications. These days, no interviewer is interested in hiring someone who is overly picky in regards to their work environment.

Tracy Luo's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment
tluo@morganmckinley.com