Embarrassing Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them!

Posted on Feb 26th, 2015 | Career, College

Regardless of how qualified you may be for the job, if you botch the interview, you’ll likely lose the chance of getting hired. Some interview mistakes may be inevitable, and the interviewer may chose to overlook your misstep. According to the staffing agency Office Team, however, some interview mistakes just can’t be forgiven. A survey conducted by this Office Team included over 600 senior managers and revealed of the worst interview mistakes they’ve encountered:

  • "A candidate fell asleep."
  • "One applicant called the interviewer by the wrong name."
  • "A guy didn’t know what job he was applying for."
  • "One job seeker had lettuce in his teeth when he arrived."
  • "An applicant showed up in sweatpants."
  • "The person was checking his cell phone and chewing gum during the interview."
  • "One interviewee was so nervous she almost fainted."
  • "The applicant did a song and dance routine in hopes of getting the job."
  • "One candidate didn’t realize that his zipper was down."
  • "One job applicant was caught lying on her resume during the meeting."
  • "One candidate claimed that he was late because he got lost, but the receptionist said she saw him hanging out at the coffee shop."
  • "Someone brought his dog."

What to Do Instead

So now you know what you shouldn’t do — but that’s only half the battle. Fortunately, the Office Team won’t leave you hanging. It has provided the following advice to ensure that your interview goes off without a hitch:

1. Do your research. Be sure you study the history, vision and culture of the company. This can help you identify what’s important to the company and will help you to ask relevant questions. Check out the organization’s website and social media accounts. Both are great places to find this type of information.

2. Practice your responses. Rehearse your answers — especially to questions that may trip you up like, "Tell me about yourself," or "What do you consider to be your greatest strength and/or weakness?" Remember, "Tell me about yourself" doesn’t mean that you should start with the day you were born and end with what you had for breakfast. Touch on your education highlights (major, honors) and briefly discuss previous employment or relevant volunteer work.

3. Dress like a professional. Leave the sweat suits, jeans and other casual clothes at home. When you dress casually, it creates the impression that the job isn’t that important to you. Wearing appropriate business clothes shows that you’re serious about your career.

4. Verify directions. You don’t want to get lost the day of the interview, so be sure you know exactly where you’re going and how long it’s going to take you to get there. And then add extra time in case there is some incident that could cause you to be late.

5. Be honest. You want to make a good impression, but don’t exaggerate your education, skills or experience. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You’ve already landed the interview, so now show them what you have to offer.

6. Remain engaged. Make sure that your body language is positive and shows that you’re excited about the prospect of working for the company. Avoid looking impatient or constantly looking at your watch. And please, don’t pull out your phone and start checking messages — even if the interviewer steps out of the room for a few minutes.

7. Use tact. If it is necessary to discuss former bosses or colleagues that you may have had problems with, use diplomacy. If you bad-mouth them, it will only reflect negatively on you.

Photo by Sean MacEntee via cc.