The biggest interview mistakes you can make are easily avoidable

Too many times, the equation to getting hired is filled with unseen elements that have nothing to do with your qualifications. A recent survey found that one of the biggest interview mistakes is a self-inflicted wound — your tardiness to the interview itself.

A job interview is filled with many variables outside of your control. There can be curveball questions you get asked, interviewers who veer off topic, budgets for a new hire that fall through.


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Too many times, the equation to getting hired is filled with unseen elements like these that have nothing to do with your qualifications. But a recent survey found that the top reason you won’t get hired is through a self-inflicted wound —your tardiness to the interview itself.

Survey: Being late is No. 1 reason your interviewer won’t like you

In a recent survey of 850 hiring managers, SimplyHired.com found that arriving late to an interview was the top reason a manager could change their “yes” to a “no.” Ninety-three percent of hiring managers said that tardiness negatively affected a candidate’s hiring chances, followed by whining (92%), showing a lack of preparation (89%), and bad-mouthing a former boss (88%).

This is actually good news. All of these job interview behaviors are ones that are within your control to fix.

Showing up on time means giving yourself an overabundance of time to get to where the interview is being held. Whining and trash-talking your former employer means learning to be tactful about self-disclosing your opinions. Future employers are not going to be forgiving about your whining and complaining. They see these behaviors as premonitions about how you will one day act around them.

If you do not want to get ruled out of a job before the interview starts, show up on time and be gracious when asked about why you are leaving your old job to look for a new one.

The survey did, however, find that there was a generational difference with hiring managers’ feelings about the worst job interview behaviors. Younger hiring managers in their twenties and thirties were more forgiving about your tardiness and your badmouthing than hiring managers in their forties and fifties. Interestingly, dressing casually was a bigger faux pas for younger hiring managers in their twenties than for any other generational group.

Do these simple things if you want to impress an interviewer

If you want to give the best first impression to your interview, show up prepared, arrive early, and follow-up in a timely and professional manner.

These were the top behaviors that were most likely to positively influence a hiring manager’s decision. Eighty-three percent of hiring managers said they would be impressed if the candidate provided a portfolio of sample work, arrived early (75%), and followed up the interview with a single email or a phone call (55%).

For job candidates, it should be heartening to realize that you have more power than you think. If you want to influence the outcome of your job interview, it starts with preparing to show up on time, or better yet, early.

Monica Torres|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.