9 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow the Interview

Want to destroy your chances of getting that job? Here are some real (honest!) interview incidents that personnel directors say did just that, according to Robert Half of Robert Half International.

Where would you want to be in 10 years?
  • Dozed off and started snoring during the interview. 
  • Wore a Walkman and said she could listen to the interviewer and the music at the same time. 
  • Challenged the interviewer to arm-wrestle. 
  • Said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm. 
  • Interrupted the interview to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions. 
  • Brought her large dog to the interview. 
  • Abruptly excused himself, then, returned to office a few minutes later wearing a hairpiece. 
  • Chewed bubble gum and blew bubbles. 
  • Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application. 

Half, president of the research firm, says the most important thing you should do during a job interview is the easiest: Be nice. “An interview is a very tense situation,” he says. “Try to think of the word, ‘smile.’ You’ll have a pleasant face, but you won’t show a mouthful of Chicklets.”

  • Arrive late for the interview.
  • Indicate you are late because the directions you were given were not good.
  • Look disheveled and inappropriately dressed.
  • Slouch in your seat.
  • Don’t maintain good eye-contact with the interviewer.
  • Do your company research at the interview by asking, “What do you guys do here?”
  • Don’t make a connection between your skills and the needs of the employer.
  • Brag about how great you are, but neglect to cite evidence of your accomplishments.
  • Respond in an unfocused, disorganized, and rambling manner.
  • Remain low-key and display no enthusiasm for the job.
  • Answer most questions with simple “yes” and “no” answers.
  • Appear desperate for a job–any job.
  • Call the interviewer by his or her first name, or use the wrong name.
  • Give memorized responses, forgetting parts in the process.
  • Badmouth your current or former employer.
  • Ask “How am I doing? Are you going to hire me?”
  • Blurt out, “I need to make at least $35,000. I hope this job pays at least that much,” near the beginning of the interview.
  • When asked “Do you have any questions?”, reply “No.” 
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