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5 Job Interview No-Nos from the Experts

By Melanie Lockert
January 21, 2019

You’ve scored an interview for your ideal job with the dream salary you want to get paid. Yes! “I can’t mess this up,” you think. So you start preparing and figuring out how you can ace the interview and make it to the next step.

But before you let your nerves get the best of you, it’s important to understand that interviewing for a job is more of an art than a science. And, there are some definite no-nos to avoid at all costs. To help you out, we talked to human resources experts and hiring managers to learn more about what you absolutely should not do. Take a look at these 5 things to avoid in a job interview:

1. Don’t talk trash about your current employer

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, it’s likely that your job interviewer will ask about your current employer. But, even if you’re itching to leave your job because you hate it, you don’t have to dis your boss or the company you currently work for.

“There is nothing worse than hearing an employee bad mouth a current employer during an interview; not only is it awkward, but it also instantly makes a bad impression,” says Matt Dunne, hiring manager at Africa Travel.

Also, talking trash about your current employer is unprofessional, and this won’t win you any bonus points.

“Slandering your current employer to prove you’re ready to move onto the next step in your career may sound great in your head, but that’s where it should stay. After all, an employer expects you to speak highly of their company, no matter what the circumstance,” says Dunne.

2.  Not having questions ready

After any interview, a standard question is, “Do you have any questions for me?”

You might think you covered everything and you’re good to go. Nope. You should always come up with some good questions to either ask in the interview or afterwards. This proves you are truly interested in learning as much as you can about the employer and prospective job.

“When an employer ends an interview with “do you have any questions for me?” try not to make up questions on the fly. This shows a lack of preparation and often the answers could easily be found with a quick search,” says Alex Robinson, hiring manager at Team Building Hero.

“Instead, say ‘I do have some questions, and I’d like to spend a little more time thinking about them. Would it be okay if I follow-up by email?’ This approach shows strong critical thinking skills and gives you an opportunity to connect with the interviewer again.”

3. Lacking passion and interest

Have you ever been around someone who is so passionate about a particular topic that you can’t help but get drawn into her magnetism? It’s infectious and makes you listen, right? In a job interview, you want to be this person.

“If you’re a job candidate, I recommend you tell the person interviewing you specifically why you want to work at that company. Do you use their products or services yourself? Do you know someone who works there and loves it? What is it about the company that gets you excited?” says Richard Blazevich, author of Interview Prep Playbook.

Sharing your passion for the job and/or company can win you a lot of points, especially if your resume may need a little padding in the skills department. Many skills can be taught but passion can’t be bought. Having a genuine passion and illustrating that in an interview may help you get to the next round.

4. Not following-up with a thank you

Should you or shouldn’t you follow-up after a job interview? Trick question.

You should always follow-up after an interview. Yes, always.

“Send thank you notes. Email a different/unique thank you note to every person you met within 24 hours. You will need their email address, so be sure to get business cards from everyone. And don’t be lazy and copy/paste the same message to everyone, they might chat and share your note. Tweak each one to be a little different,” says David B. Nast, CEO and managing partner of Nast Partners, a human capital management and talent optimization firm.

If you want, you can go to the next level and send a handwritten note. Be sure to mail it that day so it can get to your interviewers ASAP.

5. Being late

There’s a huge cardinal sin when it comes to interviews: being late. Arriving late for an appointment is disrespectful to everyone and doesn’t give off a great first impression. So, avoid this at all costs by preparing ahead.

“Scout the location a few days before the interview and plan to arrive 15-30 mins early.  Program the main number or the admin’s number into your phone, so that if you are running late, you can call ahead and let them know you are running late and why you are late,” says Nast.

On the day of the interview leave extra early. Being early is always better than being late. And besides, if you arrive early, you can relax a bit. Maybe you can even grab a cup of coffee or a snack and make notes before heading into your interview.

Final word

Nailing a job interview is just one step in the hiring process. But it’s a necessary one and a step that you must pass in order to move on in the process.

In order to boost your chances of landing that job you’ve had your eye on, avoid these 5 interview no-nos at all costs. This will help you achieve both career and financial success in the new year.

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