What NOT to Do in a Job Interview

October 24, 2017 - Kim Wallace


Most of us find it easy to chat with some friends over a pizza, but far more difficult to talk to a hiring manager over our resume. We might get nervous and freeze up, or just as bad, start talking to them as casually as we talk to our friends and come off as unprofessional. With years of interview experience, we’ve seen many mistakes lead to the downfall of job seekers. To help you learn from their mistakes, here are the things not to do in a job interview.


Chew Gum

Chewing gum may not seem like a big deal, but to a hiring manager it screams unprofessionalism. Use this thought to remember to avoid similar things, such as playing with a toothpick, biting your nails, eating candy, or sucking on a breath mint. Take care of these things in your car before the interview so you won’t worry about needing a snack or what your breath smells like while talking to a potential employer. If you’re worried about getting so nervous that your throat feels dry, just bring a water bottle with you to sip on. That’s the only acceptable food item to have during the interview.


Slouch in Your Seat

When you sit back in a chair the same way you do at home on a couch, it doesn’t look professional or assertive. Our body language says a lot about us, and even if we aren’t used to sitting with proper posture, most of us can do it for the 30 minutes or so an interview may last. If more than one person is interviewing you, remember to turn your body to whoever is talking. Simply put, keep body language in mind from the moment you leave your car to walk inside to the moment you leave the building.


Look Away Often

When someone avoids eye contact, it can be a sign they are lying or not interested in the conversation. If you’re nervous, fight the urge to look away too much. Eye contact can seem scary, but the manager interviewing you is a person too, just like your friends and family. If you’re able to, practice interviewing with a friend beforehand to work on eye contact. Or, set up your phone to record yourself and practice talking into the camera. When you play it back, you might be surprised to see how often you look away.


Stay Silent

A good interview is a conversation, so treat it like one and don’t answer just “yes” or “no” to every question. Give detail in your answers, referring to your past experience as much as possible. Before an interview, think of two or three really great accomplishments from old jobs that prove you meet the responsibilities of this new role. That way you can fall back on these examples and stories when you need to at a moment’s notice without thinking too much. Finally, always remember to be polite and professional whenever you’re talking in an interview, leaving the swear words at home.


Ignore Others

Try to impress everyone you see, not just the person interviewing you. If you’re walking through a door and someone is coming behind you, hold the door open for them. When you check in at a front desk, ask the administrative assistant about their day and where they are from. As you pass others in the hallway, give them a handshake and introduce yourself. These things make you memorable and personable, and start a bond with what could be your future coworkers or bosses. The impression you leave with these people could be the deciding factor between receiving a job offer or rejection email.


Looking for more interview tips, or better yet, a new job? Personnel Services can help you with both! Just contact one of our offices near you today to get started.



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