How to Blow an Interview…Quickly!

Information is everywhere regarding what you should say/do in aninterview interview.  But it can be just as important to realize what not to say/do.  It is also imperative to note that what you say can be communicated through both your words and actions.  Let’s talk about some of the more common ways that people have ruined their chances at getting an offer.

1. You arrive late to the interview.

What it means: “I really don’t care about getting this position.”

It is always recommended to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to give you time to collect your thoughts, review your notes and make a good first impression.

2. You’re rude to the receptionist.

What it means: “I’m difficult to work with…you’re a snob that thinks people are beneath you.”

Remember…receptionists are the gate keepers and it’s their job to be the eyes and ears of the company.  Also it’s important to note that, if hired, you may need their help with something one day.

3. You answer questions with trite or cliché responses.

What it means: “I’m just one of the crowd.”

Telling the interviewer you are a perfectionist and expect too much of yourself is sure to elicit a yawn.  These standard/canned answers are so over-used.  Be original and actually try to think about an answer that is personal to you.  Prepare potential responses ahead of time to avoid relying on the usual interview cliché answers.  Don’t try so hard to find some cute way of saying something.  Just be honest about yourself, direct answers with merit are always the best choice.

4. You don’t ask questions.

What it means: “I’m not that interested in your company or this job.”

The interview should be a two-way conversation to determine if you are the right fit for the company, and if the company is the right fit for you. Use the interview to gather as much information about your potential new position as possible, but don’t dominate the conversation.  You need to give the interviewer time to get to know you too.

5. You answer the standard “Tell us about yourself,” with “What would you like to know?”

What it means: “I have nothing special to offer this company.”

This is your opportunity to steer the conversation into areas where you truly shine. Don’t waste this chance by appearing to lack any outstanding qualities you want to share. And please don’t start with where you were born. Focus on your career unless your birthplace is relevant to the job. It is very (VERY) rare that an interviewer will ask you this question and expect a personal life story.  They want to know the relevant details of your experience/life that actually have something to do with the job/company where you are interviewing.

6. You use inappropriate language.

What it means: “I’m unprofessional and if it shows in the short span of an interview, imagine what I’ll be like in the office.”

Even if they’re only mild and using somewhat acceptable words, there still is no place for them in the interview.  Adhering to proper grammar (no slang) and definitely NEVER use offensive language at any time during the interview.

7. Bad-mouth your former boss or company.

What it means: “I have no discretion…I’ll blab any inside information.”

If you left your prior job on poor terms, you need to put this relationship in a positive light for the interview.  Even if your old boss really was to blame…you don’t’ want to say that in your interview.  You never want to bring negativity into the interview.  Keep it positive and upbeat.

8. You ask the interviewer not to contact your former employer.

What it means: “I have something to hide.”

Even if you do not get along with your boss, you can always name someone else in the organization as a reference.

9. You exaggerate your accomplishments or credentials.

What it means: “I need to lie to make myself look good.”

A skilled interviewer can easily identify fabrications in your background or experience.  State your qualifications with confidence.  Be proud of what you can do and how well you can do it.  You don’t have to be Superman to get hired; you just have to be right for the job.

10. You don’t thank the interviewer.

What it means: “I have no manners.”

Forgetting to thank your interviewers in writing for their time can take the luster from even the most stellar interviewee.  Always ask for a business card so you have the ability to send a follow-up “thank you” letter once you get home.


These are 10 of the most important things NOT to do as these have all proven in the past to be “deal killers”.  I have personally experienced people losing their job offer based on 1 of these items over the years.  These things will truly ruin your chances of being hired.

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