What NOT to Do in An Interview

Interviews can be nerve-wracking. You want to present yourself as a strong candidate and good fit for the position. The following are some behavioral mistakes hiring managers would recommend you avoid during a job interview:

Arriving late

Showing up late reflects poorly on you. It can give the impression that you lack professionalism and don’t respect the interviewer’s time. They may think you have a habit of showing up late for work. Aim for arriving 10 minutes early.

Not researching the company/organization

Always prepare ahead of time by learning about the organization. Browse through their website to get an understanding about what they do, their location(s), the mission statement, how many employees work there, and the services they offer. Read the “About the Company” section. Check out their LinkedIn profile and social media.

Leaving your cell phone on and out in the open

Never text or take a phone call during an interview. It is seen as a lack of respect for the interviewer. Silence your phone and put it away.

Dressing inappropriately or too casually

Avoid wearing revealing, wrinkled, or faded clothing. It’s better to make a good first impression and look professional for an interview even if you are interviewing at a company where casual dress is the dress code.

Not making eye contact, fidgeting

Not making eye contact is one of the biggest body language mistakes. Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview helps you appear confident and interested in the conversation. Fidgeting could come across as being distracted and having a hard time focusing.

Not bringing copies of your resume

It’s always a good idea to bring copies of your resume. Even though you already sent it, the interviewer may not have it on hand and you may meet other staff who’ve never seen your resume. Bring a pen and notepad too.

Speaking negatively about a previous employer and co-workers

It’s never a good idea to trash former employers and co-workers. It’s considered a red flag. The interviewer could think you will do the same to them and the company.


Be truthful. Anything you say about past employment or education can be easily discovered.

Not asking questions

Asking questions shows an interest in the position and you have been paying attention throughout the interview. Review common interview questions ahead of time and prepare thoughtful questions in advance.

Talking too much

Pay attention to rambling answers. It’s good to answer a question fully but be aware of talking too long. Something else to keep in mind is don’t offer negative information about yourself.

Asking about salary, vacation time and benefits

Although the salary and benefits are important to consider before accepting a job, there will be time to ask about them after you have received a job offer.

The Center for Career Development can help to prepare you for an interview. Check out the helpful advice and resources on our website.

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