What NOT to do in a Job Interview

What NOT to do in a Job Interview

CareerBuilder recently published an article in their advice section that we thought you could benefit from. Everyone talks about how to ace an interview, but do you know the most common mistakes that could cost you a job?

Here are the top things to avoid, according to CareerBuilder’s Susan Ricker:
  1. Appear disinterested The worst impression you can possibly give in an interview is that you’d rather be somewhere else. “Employers want somebody who will bring energy and focus to their team, and will engage with the job,” says Ricker. Show your interviewer that you are 100% present and interested in this job.
  2. Dress inappropriately Think about it from their point of view: a candidate shows up dressed in khaki’s and a band t-shirt. Would you hire that guy? Show your potential employer that you know how to dress like a pro.
  3. Appear arrogant.  Interviewing requires you to walk a fine line between highlighting your accomplishments while not appearing arrogant. You’ve got to find a way to show that you’re successful, but you’re also a team player. As Ricker suggests, “Frame your big wins in the company’s overall success.” 
  4. Talk bad about current/previous employers.  This one is a big no-no. If you talk behind the back of your current boss, why should your interviewer assume you won’t go right ahead and talk behind their back once they hire you? 
  5. Answer a call or text during an interview.  Hopefully this is something you would never even dream of doing. Before you even step into the office building, your phone should be completely off—and it shouldn’t go on again until you leave the building after the interview is complete. 
  6. Appear uninformed about company/role. This goes along with not appearing disinterested. Prove to your interviewer that you care deeply about joining the company. Ricker recommends to “research every aspect: who you’ll be interviewing with, what the role’s responsibilities are, any major news about the organization and a background knowledge of its industry.” 
  7. Avoid providing specific examples. Never talk about vague concepts like “hard-worker with a passion for innovation” that mean nothing to your potential employer. Always give concrete examples of your strengths. Talk about how you developed a new organizational system for the company’s digital records or how you improved sales by developing a new branch of social media marketing.
  8. Ask generic questions (or none at all). Just as you don’t want to appear uniformed about the company, you don’t want to show your ignorance when it’s your turn to ask questions. According to Ricker, this “signals to the interviewer you probably don’t understand or aren’t interested in the job.” Ask specific questions about your responsibilities to show your interest.
  9. Provide too much personal information. Nobody wants to see your vacation photos. Find a way to let your personality shine, without getting sidetracked by irrelevant information. 
  10. Ask the hiring manager personal questions. Never forget the line between being friendly and being professional. As Ricker states, overly personal questions “just shows you don’t have a good sense of business manners.” 

LA ORT’s Employment Preparation course will walk you through the maze of job searching, interviewing, and landing the most suitable job to jump-start your career. We’ll help you at every step!

As an added bonus, our career team came up with five more things to never do in an interview:

job interview questions
  1. Arrive late. Even in LA, traffic is simply not an excuse for being late to an interview. If your commute to the interview is on a busy route, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Give yourself plenty of time to get stuck in traffic and still make it to your appointment on time.
  2. Forget to follow up. If you fail to follow up after an interview is over, it’s much more likely you’ll slip right out of your interviewer’s mind. A day after the interview, shoot them an email thanking them for the opportunity to meet.
  3. Be rude to other employees. The receptionist who greets you on your way in? The coworker you ride up the elevator with? Everyone deserves your respect and friendliness. The interview starts the moment you walk in the door.
  4. Act rushed. The interviewee should never mandate when the interview is over, so avoid scheduling other commitments soon after the interview. You should be able to stay as long as the interviewer wants to keep chatting. If they’re keeping you there longer, it’s a good sign they’re considering you highly.
  5. Forget to smile! Interviews are stressful, but always try to relax and have fun. The recruiter wants to see someone who is not only qualified for the job, but who will also bring a positive energy to the work environment.
To learn more about interviewing dos and don’ts, check out our other blogs on interview preparation:


LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.