Job Interview Advice: 25 Things Not To Do In Your Next Interview

Have you been invited to a job interview? It means you’re going to be seriously considered for this job. Hiring Managers will not waste their time interviewing candidates they’re not interested in hiring. This means you have a real chance of getting this job.

There are probably two small hurdles in front of you to turn your job interview into a job offer – Two Interviews. The idea of meeting someone new, building rapport and then talking about yourself and your career, while sounding professional and impressive, but not arrogant, often puts the fear into even the most experienced candidates.


Everyone has made a mess of an interview in the past.  Yours truly made a complete mess of a competency based interview a few years ago.

If you make a complete mess of your job interview, remember, you’re not the first, and you certainly will not be last. Still, if you follow a few bits of job interview preparation advice and avoid these top job interview blunders, you should be in the right place to excel at your next job interview.

25 Things Not To Do In Your Next Job Interview

Below are twenty-five things that you should not discuss, talk about or do in your next job interview if you want to have a chance of it going well.

  • Don’t Forget to Bring a Pen and Paper – Candidates will often be asked to prepare a presentation or case study for a final interview and it’s often hard to remember what exactly you were meant to be doing after the interview has finished.  If you have written everything down, you had a resource to read after you have finished your interview.
  • No Interview Preparation – I am sure you have all the experience, knowledge and skills. Still, you don’t know about the company, have not prepared answers to key interview questions and have not prepared any questions to ask at the end of the interview; it’s more than likely your interview will not go as you expect. There’s an old phrase that works well in this situation, “Fail to Prepare, and you Prepare to Fail”.
  • Arrive Late For Your Interview – These days where everyone has a mobile telephone, really there is no excuse for turning up late and not phoning ahead.  If you’re late, you need to have a very good reason, “I am running late because I got stuck in traffic”, shows a lack of maturity to plan ahead and will not win you any favours.
  • Not Dressing Professionally – First impressions count, especially during a Job Interview.  You want to make sure that you’re dressed professionally.  This means suits are needed for both men and women.  Smart Casual might be accepted in an office, but unless you have been told ahead of time, you should be wearing a smart suit.
  • Get Your Hand Shake Right – As above, first impressions count and getting your handshake wrong is make or break. To give the perfect handshake, you should ensure that you fully connect with the interviewer’s hand and offer a medium squeeze. Offer and limp handshake and you are showing that you lack confidence while offering a bone-crunching handshake could be a sign of arrogance or lack of maturity.
  • What’s Your Body Language Saying? – Up to 90% of what we say actually does not come out of our mouth so what your body is telling the interviewer is very important.  No-one wants to work with a grumpy old man or women, so make sure that you have good eye contact, you sit up straight, smile and generally come across as a nice, happy person.
  • What Does Your Voice Say – Speaking with a clear, strong voice shows confidence and maturity whilst mumbling along, speaking to the table shows that you’re shy and lack any confidence.
  • Stand Up – Stand Up as the interviewer walks into the room and only sit down when you’re invited to.  This is both polite and professional and gives a sign of respect to the interviewer.  Not standing up, is arrogant and can be taken in some environments a rude.
  • Not Building Rapport with Your Interviewer – Hiring Managers buy people, not machines and building rapport before, during and after your interview will go a long way to getting to know your interviewer.  Here’s how to build Rapport with your Interviewer.
  • Building Rapport is Great, but Getting Personal – well this is just pathetic.  Watch out for those stories about how bad your life is and how badly you need the job to earn some money.  Employers want mature, professional individuals who are going to grow with the company.
  • Getting Personal Is Bad, but Flirting – it’s never worked and never will.  You may get a date, but you’re really unlikely to get a job.
  • Answer the Question That Being Asked – Interviewers want an answer to the question that is being asked. Yes, you can use examples, but you need to get to the point pretty quickly; otherwise, your interviewer is going to be bored. You need to concentrate on answering the question within the first couple of sentences and make sure that you only answer the question that’s being asked.
  • Bad-Mouthing Your Current Boss or Employer – Don’t complain about your current boss or employer even if you feel you’re being treated badly.  No-one wants to hire some who will cause problems for them.  Moaning about everything that is wrong in your life is a real turn off!!!
  • Taking A Call During an Interview – Switch off your phone.  There is nothing worse than that vibrating sound where you have not bothered to switch it off. Show some respect to your interviewer by switching it off.
  • Bending the Truth – Don’t bend the truth either on your Resume or in an Interview.  You will be found out and quite frankly it looks terrible when you have said you have done thing, when actually you have not.  You waste the interviewer’s time and risk any further job prospects within that company in the future.
  • Playing with your Pen – I always recommend that candidates take a pen and paper with them to an interview so they can write any important information they receive down on paper, however watch out that you do not end up just playing with your pen. You will take the interviewers attention off you and onto your pen.
  • Bring a couple of Updated Resumes – Hiring Managers and Recruiters often either forget or cannot print your resume and will often show up without your resume.  By taking a few copy’s your showing that you have prepared for the interview.
  • Bad language or Cursing – It generally not acceptable in the working environment and will not be tolerated in an interview.  Cursing shows that you’re aggressive and arrogant which are both generally not wanted by hiring managers.
  • Employment Details – If you want this job don’t start to discuss employment details.  Any mention of sick-day leave, maternity leave, paid holidays, working hours, holiday arrangements will open a whole barrel of questions that you do not want.
  • Money – Another than basic questions with regard to salary, you should not be going into details about money, bonus’s or packages unless an offer is put in front of you.  When the salary question does come up, make sure that you explain why you’re asking for the increase and base it on examples.
  • Not Asking Questions – There is no possible way that you can understand everything about a company, a job or your personal future, from a few hours of research and a few interviews.  Candidates that don’t ask questions show that they are not able to think for themselves or maybe are not interested in the company or role.  If you’re interested, you need to ask questions which will show that you want to know more.
  • Finishing an Interview because you’re Busy – is really not a good excuse.  Interviews often run over time, so make sure that you allocate and appropriate amount of time.
  • Stopping an Interview because you’re Not Interested – Finishing an interview early because you’re not interested in the job can be done the right way or the wrong way.  I am not interested in this job and walking out, is the wrong way and you need to make sure you don’t do it.  Think long term – next time there is a great job that’s perfect for you, it will be much easier if you have a contact within the company that likes you to put you forwards for the job.
  • Not Following Up After your Interview – Even if you have built rapport, had a fantastic interview, its common curtsy to drop a note to the hiring manager or interviewer to thank them for their time.  As a recruiter, if you meet 10 candidates in a day, by the time you’ve finished the 10th, it’s hard to remember what the first looked like.  A thank you note helps out to remember the good candidates.
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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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