Last year I caught up with a candidate after an interview to get their thoughts on how they felt it went. They thought it couldn’t have gone much better. Later that day, I followed up with the client and I couldn’t have gotten more opposite feedback. It was a hard NOOO…
Here's my list for people so they know what not to do in an interview.
1.Wear Sunglasses on your head.
Might sound obvious, but I have had countless candidates over the years wear their sunglasses either on their face (Indoors) or on their head for the duration of an interview. It’s not professional and it doesn’t matter what job you are going for. Put them away.
Note: I do always alert this to candidates at the end of an interview and explain the reasoning behind this.
2. Chew Gum.
Again, sound pretty obvious? It happens. I think a lot of candidates do this a stress relief solution because of interview nerves, but you are really facing an uphill battle if you do this in an interview and will probably not get the job.
3. Have your phone out.
DON’T DO IT! It is distracting to both you and the interviewer and will certainly be looked upon unfavourably. Even if you have it on silent, it still buzzes or lights up to take away from the importance of what you are doing.
4. Use Profanities
It is important to try and feel as comfortable as you can in an interview but regardless of how well you think the interview is going, do not use foul language. In the place of professional business, you wouldn’t use this language (in most cases) so neither should you in an interview. Save it for your mates down the pub.
Note: I'm aware some interviewers may even do so, doesn't mean you should follow suit.
5. Just wing it
I work across sales roles a lot of the time and the ability to think on your feet is invaluable. However, this ability needs to be partnered with thorough research and an ability to recall information. If you just start to spout BS the interviewer WILL know right away. There have been interviews where I hear people go on tangents about stuff completely irrelevant that is just emerging as noise. Remember to always answer the question that you are asked. If you are unsure ask the interviewer to clarify.
6. Say you’re really good at…. without backing it up.
Me: “So why did you decide to apply for this sales role?”
Interviewee: “I’m just good at sales. “
Me: “Oh really why do you say that?”
Interviewee: “I’m good at talking to people” (Then silence).
Again, this is particularly for junior/entry level candidates, but is that sort of conversation going to get you a job in sales or customer service where communication is your only tool? No is the answer. You must relate your answers to previous experiences whether they are life or professional experiences and build on your answers.
7. Use innuendo/Heavy Flirting
Another absolute no no. No matter how well you think the interview is going, any type of inappropriate behaviour will go against you. It may make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and if it doesn’t, they may think you could make others uncomfortable in the organisation you are interviewing for. DON’T DO IT!
Now here we have it, the inspiration for this article. I once had a candidate in an interview with a client mention they had a vulgar (synonymous with ill-mannered) sense of humour and proceeded with a ;-). Needless to say, this interview ended being that hard no when the interviewee thought it had gone really well. Delivering that feedback back to the candidate made for an interesting afternoon.
All the above may sound obvious, but for junior candidates without a lot of interview experience I see these things happening every week. If you are not new to the workforce and have still found yourself to be doing any of these things, you might want to reassess your interview approach!
Love to hear if you think I’ve missed any other ones out.