5 interview mistakes that would make Jimmy Fallon say “Ew!”

Self-sabotage is so “Ew!” Interview like a pro with these 5 tips.

If you think Jimmy Fallon is a national treasure (as I do), you’ve probably seen his “Ew!” sketch on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” According to Jimmy’s character Sara (with no “h” because “h’s” are “Ew!”), there are many things that can make her say “Ew!”: brain freezes, egg nog, Crocs, and most of all, her step-dad Gary.

As the definitive resource in what not to do, we at Ladders thought she’d be a great role model to keep in mind when considering interview faux pas to avoid. Here are a few things our hiring professionals think would make Sara, and any interviewer, say “Ew!”

Not taking off your coat during the interview is so “Ew!”

Body language is a big part of the interview process. Often how you conduct yourself in an interview is just as important as what you say. Taking off your coat shows that you’re relaxed, prepared, and ready for the interview to begin. Keeping your coat on sends the signal that you’re more prepared to leave the interview than to participate in it.

Taking out your phone in between questions? “Ew!”

Once an interview begins, your phone should be on silent and out-of-sight for the entire duration of the interview process. Checking your phone for any reason between questions can come across as disinterest in the position/company and is extremely unprofessional. Your full attention should be given to the person conducting the interview; your personal conversations can wait fifteen minutes.

Are you a bobblehead? “Ew!”

While visual cues can show that you are paying attention, nodding in agreement too often while someone is speaking may come off as a lack of attentive listening or comprehension. Instead, confirm verbally that you understand what the interviewer is saying and ask questions to show that you’re engaged in the conversation.

Badmouthing your current or previous employer is “Ew!”

Talking poorly about your current or previous employer is never a good interview strategy. It will leave interviewers wondering what you might say about their company behind their back, or worst, what that employer might say about you. If you have gripes with your current or previous employer, keep them to yourself or express them in a way that promotes positive conversation (i.g. “I felt like he/she didn’t have my best interest in mind, then transition into talking about your career goals). Rudeness without purpose is so “Ew!”

Sara’s step-dad Gary is a “people person.” “Ew!”

Telling an interviewer you are a “people person” or any other soft skills cliché doesn’t really speak to what you as an individual can bring to the position. Instead, talk about your unique attributes and achievements, and have examples prepared that demonstrate the value you can offer to the hiring company. Recruiters want genuine talents, not people pleasers.

We all want to make a great first impression when interviewing. Hopefully these tips inspired by Sara can help you keep the small things in mind that will turn your next interview into a new job!