The Top 17 ways to fail a job interview

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Few things bear the panic-inducing potential of an initial job interview. By the second and third correspondence, you’ve likely devised a tentative blueprint of the general feel of the firm, your employer’s tone, principles, pet peeves etc. For most of us, a handful of emails and phone calls aren’t quite enough to ensure we put our best feet forward.

To help young candidates prepare as much as possible before a throng of interviews, TopResume surveyed more than three-hundred hiring managers about the interview mistakes that turn them off the most—and the quickest.

After all the responses were collected, each submitted item was weighed with a five-point scale.

A “1” indicated offenses that were not that serious while items that received a five were deemed to be serious enough to prevent some applicants from consideration.

It’s all subjective and circumstantial of course but 92% of the employers polled said any one of the 17 items occasioned would keep them from hiring a candidate. For some offenses, even a stand-out resume wasn’t enough to deter rejection.

“While an impressive resume will help you secure the interview, it’s your interview performance that ultimately determines whether you’ll land the job,” said Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopResume, a certified professional career coach (CPCC), and a certified professional resume writer (CPRW).

This interview’s over

Here is the complete list of TopResume’s interview deal breakers:

 

  1. Lying (experience, education, skills, achievements) (4.6)
  2. Appearing disinterested in the opportunity (4.4)
  3. Being unprepared (4.3)
  4. Arriving late (without a valid excuse) (4.2)
  5. Showing poor hygiene and/or grooming (4.2)
  6. Dressing inappropriately (4.0)
  7. Displaying negative body language or low energy (4.0)
  8. Asking inappropriate questions (4.0)
  9. Badmouthing a current or former employer (3.9)
  10. Coming across as arrogant or overconfident (3.9)
  11. Bringing one’s children or parents to the interview (3.8)
  12. Sharing overly personal or too much information (3.5)
  13. Declining the opportunity to ask any questions (3.4)
  14. Appearing desperate or overly eager (3.3)
  15. Failing to follow up after the interview (2.9)
  16. Forgetting to bring a resume (2.9)
  17. Arriving too early (30 minutes or more) (2.3)

 

Despite how much to-do is made out of sending follow up emails/thank you notes, only 6% of the recruiters surveyed said that they would dismiss a candidate outright if they failed to do so.

Dishonesty has actually appeared in previous hireability studies. The trend is none the less on the rise. One-third of job seekers admit to lying to impress would-be employers. Saying nothing of the fact that most hiring-managers have the acumen to survey a candidate’s credibility, securing a role based on misinformation will only posture you for failure down the line.

Employers don’t expect new workers to begin a position with all of the necessary skills to honor it. Ethics is a better indicator of competency than a listicle of achievements is.

In fact Matt Thomas, president of WorkSmart Systems, is so dispirited by dishonest candidates, his organization is actually gradually steering away from traditional interviews in favor of personality tests and skill assessment exams.

The remaining items featured on TopResume’s list check out for the most part. Cordiality, appearance, appropriate conduct and conviction are all relevant ways to parse the sheep from the snakes.

“Our recent survey reveals that job seekers are sabotaging their own candidacy through rookie, deal-breaking interview mistakes, all of which can be easily avoided through thoughtful preparation — if you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail,” Augustine explained.

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