5 Interview Failures (and How to Avoid Them)

Job interviews can tank as quickly as they started.  Let’s face reality: Most hiring managers don’t need to be ‘wow’d’ initially.  If you qualify and make a good impression, you’ll probably make the initial cut.  Countless good prospective employees bust the interview with vain attempts to ‘stand out’ and make an impression.  Don’t go overboard and make these interview-ending mistakes.

1 – Inappropriate Attire.


This is a big one.  Showing up underdressed (or overdressed) can make you stick out in all the wrong ways.  Luckily, there’s a simple solution, but it requires a bit of reconnaissance.  First, do a little research.  Every company is different, so ask around and find out what’s appropriate for the company you’re interviewing for.  If that’s not enough, try this:  Grab a cup of coffee, put on a sweater and show up to the workplace.  Take a few minutes and quietly observe how everyone is dressed.  Take that information home, and dress up just one level.  Is everyone wearing button-down shirts, but no tie or sport coat?  Put on a tie and a modest sport jacket.  Don’t show up in sweats, and go out and get a tux.

2 – Talking down former bosses or coworkers.


Do not—I repeat, DO NOT talk anybody down for any reason.  This is probably the worst thing you can do.  Not only does it reflect poorly on you; it can lose you the job and destroy your reputation in the industry.  This makes you seem like a mean spirited person right out of the gate. If your references badmouth you back, it’s even worse; you’ve already proven their point, right in front of the managers! Who’s going to hire an employee that talks smack behind everybody’s back?  Just don’t do it.  Ever.


Do not—I repeat, DO NOT talk anybody down for any reason.  This is probably the worst thing you can do.  Not only does it reflect poorly on you; it can lose you the job and destroy your reputation in the industry.  This makes you seem like a mean spirited person right out of the gate. If your references badmouth you back, it’s even worse; you’ve already proven their point, right in front of the managers! Who’s going to hire an employee that talks smack behind everybody’s back?  Just don’t do it.  Ever.

3 – You act like Peter Griffin on Red Bull.


You ramble on.  And on, and on, and so on—you get the picture.  It’s normal to talk when you’re nervous, and managers understand.  However there comes a point when a bit of nervous rambling becomes a full-on tirade.  Avoid this if possible, catch yourself rambling and lightheartedly apologize.  Your interviewers will see this and appreciate it.

4 – You sound manipulative.


Managers can tell when you say what they want to hear.  You must add some meat to the matter and actually be honest. Strolling into an interview and declaring yourself to be the perfect fit may seem like a bold move—in reality, you sound more like a yes-man, and nobody can distinguish what you’re actually capable of.  Be honest, be transparent, and don’t try to manipulate the situation.  Hiring managers know how to spot this, and it’s a great way to decimate your chances.

5 – You didn’t do any research.


In the 21st century, information is abundant.  There is absolutely no excuse to fail your research responsibilities.  Look over the job expectations diligently, and learn about the company. It’ll reflect well on you if you know, but worse if you don’t. The internet is full of information on public companies, and big corporations often publish just about everything you need to know on their websites. If information is slim, simply check out the company’s social media page. If the company is private, check out Ward’s Business Directory for more information.  You don’t need to be an encyclopedia; just don’t go in completely ignorant of the job and the company.

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