How Not to Land a Job: 18 Interview No-Nos

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As job opportunities open up, job-interview blunders are going up. Avoid these mistakes – some common and others just weird – at your next interview.

Dressing inappropriately and badmouthing former employers are well-known job interview no-nos. But many of us are still committing these basic mistakes – along with much more bizarre ones. Like hugging the interviewer.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,482 hiring managers, the rebounding economy may be to blame.

“The good news is that the number of open jobs continues to improve month over month,” said Rosemary Haefner, a vice president at CareerBuilder. “However, competition will remain high for some time to come.”

And with high competition comes high pressure, which may be causing these costly job interviewing-mistakes. The most outrageous ones reported by hiring managers were…

  1. Provided a detailed listing of how previous employer made them mad.
  2. Hugged hiring manager at the end of the interview.
  3. Ate all the candy from the candy bowl while trying to answer questions.
  4. Constantly bad mouthed spouse.
  5. Blew her nose and lined up the used tissues on the table in front of her.
  6. Brought a copy of their college diploma that had obviously been white-outed and their name added.
  7. Wore a hat that said “take this job and shove it.”
  8. Talked about how an affair cost him a previous job.
  9. Threw his beer can in the outside trashcan before coming into the reception office.
  10. Had a friend come in and ask “HOW MUCH LONGER?”

The most common mistakes are a lot less amusing but are equally damning…

  1. Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – reported by 71 percent of hiring managers
  2. Dressing inappropriately – 69 percent
  3. Appearing disinterested – 69 percent
  4. Appearing arrogant – 66 percent
  5. Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer – 63 percent
  6. Chewing gum – 59 percent
  7. Not providing specific answers – 35 percent
  8. Not asking good questions – 32 percent

Haefner offers the following tips for successful interviews in a competitive job market:

  • Keep it upbeat: “Many job seekers may be experiencing tougher than usual job searches in this economy. Even if your job search process has been frustrating, do what you can to remain positive and upbeat.”
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare: “Before the interview, research the company by looking at the press room for recent announcements, the About Us section for company culture, and the list of products so you are familiar with their offerings. Having this knowledge will allow you to easily answer and ask questions during the interview.”
  • Keep it professional, not personal: “Don’t let business decorum disappear even if the interview is in a casual setting. Refrain from discussing over-the-top personal issues and focus on the position and selling yourself.”
  • Practice does make perfect: Nerves are likely to rear their head in an interview, so help calm them ahead of time by practicing. Go through common interview questions with a friend or family member and practice in front of a mirror so you can see your body language.
  • Honesty is the best policy: “If questions come up that you don’t know how to answer, don’t lie or pretend you know. Admit that you may not know the answer, but then explain how you would go about finding a solution, proving your resourcefulness.”

“The goal of any interview is to stand out from the other candidates and ultimately land the job,” Haefner says,” but make sure you stand out for the right reasons.”

If you want to make the right impression at your next job interview, be sure to also check out…

Stacy Johnson

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