The Top 5 Job Interview Deal-Breakers

Interviewing with a prospective employer? Avoid these mistakes at all costs.

Want to bomb a job interview? Pull out your phone.

It’s the best way to turn off the interviewer, according to the results of a study developed by The Creative Group, which is the creative and design staffing division of the staffing firm Robert Half.

The study was conducted by an independent research firm. It’s based on 200 phone interviews with advertising executives and another 200 interviews with marketing executives. They were all asked the same question:

When interviewing candidates for creative roles, which of the following do you consider to be a deal breaker (something a candidate says or does that will likely cause you to immediately discount that person from consideration)?

The most common responses were:

1. Checking or answering the phone during the interview (77 percent)

Turn your phone off and tuck it away before you enter a prospective employer’s building. Even while you’re waiting in the lobby before going into the interview, you’re better off sitting patiently or reading company literature.

2. Showing up late without acknowledging it (70 percent)

Allow extra driving time in case of traffic incidents and plan to arrive to the interview about 10 minutes early. If you still might be late, call ahead and explain why.

Robert Half states:

Showing up even a few minutes late could signal to the hiring manager that you have little regard for his or her schedule; worse, it could cause you to miss the meeting altogether.

3. Not bringing items that were requested, such as resume, portfolio, references (70 percent)

Bring enough hard copies for yourself and the people who will conduct the interviews. If you have an online portfolio, bring a laptop or tablet, too, so you can present the portfolio even if there’s no Internet connection.

4. Wearing improper interview attire (69 percent)

Research the company’s dress code and dress a little more formally, even if the company has a relaxed code.

5. Speaking poorly of a past job or employer (62 percent)

Do this, and hiring managers might question your professionalism and attitude.

Robert Half states:

Although it’s OK — and often necessary — to discuss work-related challenges, show tact during these conversations. The ability to describe difficult situations diplomatically can turn the tables in your favor.

Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, suggests that applicants pay attention to details no matter how small they may seem:

Hiring managers typically assume candidates are putting their best foot forward during job interviews, so any sign of unprofessional or unproductive behavior makes a big impact, no matter how qualified the person may be for the position.

Do not overlook even the smallest detail. If you’ve bombed an interview despite avoiding these miscues, the problem might be something as simple as your spelling, according to JL Nixon Consulting.

Like this story? SHARE it with your friends on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

Read Next: How to Snag a Summer Job, and Why (It’s More than Money)

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,479 more deals!