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10 Types Of Interview Rejects

Updated on April 23, 2017

The Interview Process

I have been interviewing for more than 15 years now and to me, an interview is just a meet up within 2 individuals who wants to know if they are meant for each other. It is like a date minus the romance.

Throughout these time I have met many who made and got the job they wanted. There are also many who failed and somehow those who failed always seem to fall into certain categories. So, I have listed 10 categories of interview rejects - the most common I've seen and hopefully, you as a job seeker will avoid these pitfalls.


(1) The Bad Dresser

When I say physical appearance, I do mean about the way a candidate is dressed for an interview. The first impression means a lot in an interview process. It tells the interviewer a few things:

  1. Whether you understand the company culture
  2. Whether you understand the nature of the job that you are applying for
  3. Do you respect yourself
  4. Do you take the interview seriously

I have seen candidates who come in for an interview with jeans and t-shirt but applying for a sales job. Candidates who are over formally dressed for a casual working environment etc.

Bottom line, I know freedom of expression is the thing nowadays with younger generation but every job has its own expectation and dress code is one of them.

(2) The Tattooed One

I mean come on! Yes, I know it's your god given right to do whatever you want to do with your body. But if you appear like a thug for front line customer service role, the likelihood of you getting the job is almost zero.

Don't over accessorize yourself when attending an interview. A workplace where you do the job that you are paid to do without creating too much distraction for yourself or for others. After working hours, do what ever pleases you.

(3) The Hairy One

Yes, it looks masculine to have beard and mustache. It may even work well for you in a job interview. However, keep it neat and trim. Facial hair works for some and it looks terrible for others. Look your best when you are attending a job interview. The last you want is to look like you just left a cave after 15 years of hiding to attend this interview.

(4) The Forgetful One

One of the worst ways to put off an interviewer is to attend an interview without knowing absolutely nothing about the job or the company you are applying for. Worse still, there are candidates who cannot even remember the actual job that they applied for! This lack of preparation will not help you in any way in answering many of the questions the interviewer will ask. One of the main points of the questions you will be asked is;

  • what do you know about this job?
  • tell me what you know about us (the company)

If you know a thing or two about the job or the company, you will find it a lot easier to answer this question.It's all about showing you care about your job and that you are willing to take the effort to know some info about the company.

(5) The Distracting One

Here are some (not exhaustive of course) irritating body languages that personally puts me off as an interviewer.

  • shaking your legs so much that can actually feel the floor shaking beneath me.
  • can't sit still
  • keeps looking at the watch
  • pretentious laugh (especially the loud ones)
  • no eye contact (i hate those)
  • sits so way back on the chair that sometimes I feel like I want to catch the candidate before he falls over.

I would not say that many of the interviewers are well versed in body language, but we have interviewed enough people in our career that you as a candidate will find that, throughout the interview, they will be looking for hints about your personality from the way you act, talk, and move.

(6) The Latecomer

Who has not experienced traffic on their way to an important appointment? All of us have been in that situation. But if you promised to attend an interview at 10:00 am and you end up walking in at 10:30 am, blame yourself if you do not get the job.

Punctuality is vital in a job interview. It shows if you can keep up to your word and it describes if you can manage your time well. There are job applicants will walk in late after the arranged time without any apology or explanation. These are the people who don't bother to call in to tell you that they will be late. I've had a boss who would outrightly reject any latecomers who did not call in to give a heads up that appointment needs to be postponed - no matter how good their resume is.

Contrary to the latecomers, there are job applicants who come in an hour earlier than the arranged time. As an interviewer that bothers me because, i was not ready for them and i may have other important tasks that i may need to attend to but at the same time I cannot just allow the candidate to sit idly for an hour. Again, commitment to the time, you don't have to come too early and you definitely should never be late. Just be on time - how hard can that be?

(7) The Liar

You will come across candidates who because of a bad career past or because they need the job so desperately, they end up lying and making up facts as interview process goes along. For example, i have met a candidate who had no experience in organization culture building initiatives but he said he did have extensive exposure and for the next 15 minutes, he went on and on about how he organized Christmas party for the company. When you beat around the bush like this, you will slowly run out of words to explain yourself and will be caught in between the follow-up questions asked by the interviewer. Be upfront and be honest.

Liars are red flags. If you are even perceived as lying, you will not get a chance at all. Being perceived as a liar is one thing but a bad liar??? That's embarrassing.

(8) The Over Confident One

This is the person who walks into the interview room with an expression that says "I'm the best". Nothing wrong in that unless of course, you are not. To cover the gaps, the applicant will then be pretentious, exaggerate achievements, gets overly comfortable with interviewers shows a lack of respect towards the interview process and ends up asking the interviewer more questions than the other way around.

You know what happens to this type of candidates, the interviewer normally shuts them down and ends the interview or lets the applicant talk and then ends the interview. Either way, the interview ends with a bad result.

(9) The Low Confident One

Then, there are applicants who make you wonder why are they there in the first place because they are so afraid to speak up, you cannot get a word out of them. Most of time, you need to make up answers for them to repeat after you just so you can hear their voice.

They make you want to reach out, shake them, stroke their hair and say..." it can speak, we won't eat you".

These are the ones that make you wish the interview is over as soon as possible.

(10) The Money Minded One

Money! That why all of our work right. We work for money. Yes, passion, interest and all that as well but ultimately we want to trade our time and skill for money. Interviewers know that too but when a candidate starts asking too soon about salary, benefits etc, that puts me off as an interviewer. I mean you have not even heard about the job responsibility in full and we have not even passed halfway and you are already asking about how much you will get paid. That tells me as soon as another company offers you a higher wage, you will be gone as before I can even finish reading this.

Another issue is that candidates who ask for an exorbitant increase in their salary. I have seen many who ask 30% to 45% increase in wages without being able to justify why they deserve such a big increase. Just putting up a number out there because you 'think' it is the right number shows you are not only naive or the current market practice but also a bit greedy.

Finally, the ones that irritate that interviewers the most are candidates who despite being offered exactly what they have asked for, they then suddenly see golden opportunity to re-negotiate especially if they realize that the position needs to be filled urgently. In my opinion, these type of candidates should never be hired. They may have the skill but they lack integrity.

Extra Resources To Help You Win That Interview!


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    • profile image

      3 years ago

      This is a great article, the only part I would disagree with is that tattoos and piercings show a lack of professionalism. They are becoming considerably more acceptable culturally and to instantly shun those who display them may be a little old fashioned with the way things are going these days.

      Apart from that, excellent!

    • serenityjmiller profile image

      Serenity Miller 

      3 years ago from Brookings, SD

      Always a fun topic - brings back memories of some of my "favorite" bad examples that I've interviewed over the years. One of the most memorable was a young man who showed up looking very sharp in a formal business suit to interview in a casual work environment, only to end on a sour note when he handed over a crumpled piece of notepaper with his references' phone numbers scribbled down illegibly. Talk about mixed messages!


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