The 8 absolute worst things you can do in an interview

Finish the movie line: “Ok, now the tuxedos seem kinda…”

When sporting goods manager (Seth Rogan) interviews Dale and Brennan (John Reilly and Will Ferrell) in the hit movie Step Brothers, he was taken aback by Dale’s awkward fart. Clearly, a big no-no when you’re in a job interview

Obviously, passing gas is one of the worst things you can do in an interview. But do you know to avoid these 8 things in an interview?

1. Dress unprofessionally

Showing up in sweats, wrinkled clothes, or unkempt isn’t a good look for an interview. Even though causal attire might be the norm where you’re applying, never dress casually for an interview. This might convey you’re lazy or unorganized. 

What to do instead: No matter what you hear, it is almost a given that you wear a suit to an interview (male or female). Whether you will ever wear a suit once hired or not is beside the point. Be sure to dress professionally, and you will stand out amongst other candidates. 

2. Rambling answers

Don’t be like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship and go on a long rant when you’re asked a challenging question.

Whether you end up talking yourself in circles like Vaughn and Wilson or confuse the person interviewing you, avoid rambling at all costs. 

What to do instead: Be sure always to use succinct and relevant responses when answering interview questions. Remember, less is often more and quality over quantity! Whatever you do, don’t do this:

Link to Clip of The Internship Video

3. Show up late

We all have that annoying friend who makes us late when we want to do something fun, or perhaps that is you. Either way, don’t be late for an interview.

Chances are, the interviewer has stacked their calendar with multiple interviews sequentially. Being late is a great way to avoid getting hired, but that isn’t your goal. 

What to do instead: It is pretty simple; it shows up early. Better safe than sorry, be sure to figure out how long it will take you to get to your interview (with traffic during that time) and arrive at least 15 minutes early. Don’t walk into the building/office until about 10 minutes before your interview. 

4. Check your phone

You’re in the middle of an interview, you feel your phone ring, and your subconscious mind activates. Next thing you know, you’re looking at your phone in the middle of an interview. This is a huge mistake! 

Never use your phone in an interview, check it, or even look at your watch. This gives the impression you are bored, have places to be, or you’re not interested.

What to do instead: Unless you really need your phone for some odd reason during the interview, leave your phone in your car. It is that simple. You can greet office staff and be friendly while you wait for your interview! 

5. Bend the truth

You won’t get asked if you farted in an interview – unless, of course, you’re like Dale, and you actually do – but you might get asked about previous work experience. In that case, be truthful and never lie.

Exaggerating how long you worked somewhere or the extent of your role is easily checkable. Don’t say you were a manager when you weren’t! 

What to do instead: Consider wording what you did in an honest way that shows your experience. Instead of saying you were a project manager when you actually were not, instead tell them how you helped a project manager, for example. 

6. Show up unprepared

Interview Question 1: Who was the founder of our company?

No one can guarantee you will get asked a question like this, but would you be ready in the event you did? Or would you be unprepared? Showing up to an interview without preparing is like coming to finals week in college thinking it was a regular class. Not good. Always be sure you prepare in advance for an interview, so you don’t look like a fool!

What to do instead: Do your homework. IBM was infamous for asking weird questions in the 80s and 90s and some companies garner a reputation of asking company-specific interview questions. Give yourself the best chance of becoming a shining star at an interview by preparing ahead of time! 

7. Complain about previous employers

Some interviewers might give you the stage to unleash on your current or previous employers but never take the bait. Complaining about others or previous employers/managers isn’t a good look. 

For starters, they might know the person you’re talking about if you’re in a tight job network. Two, there are only a few ways to become the tallest building in town, and trying to knock other people’s buildings over isn’t the answer!

What to do instead: In the event, you’re asked why you’re looking for a new job, always put a positive spin on it. Talk about growth, leadership, and opportunity. Avoid talking poorly about the past!

8. Forget to thank them for the interview

One of the worst things you can do once an interview is done is not thank the interviewer for their time. This is an easy way to communicate your gratitude, but it is also an easy way to leave a lasting impression… just not the kind you want! 

What to do instead: After an interview, shake their hand, if not virtual, and let them know you appreciate their time. The next day, shoot the interviewer an email or even write a handwritten note thanking them again for their time.

Whether you get the job or not, this act of showing gratitude carries some serious weight for your future job opportunities!