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Top ten things NOT to do at an Interview

Updated on January 3, 2013

Looking for what NOT to do at your next interview? Check out my "David Letterman version" Top Ten Things NOT to do!

#10.) Do NOT dress like a lady of the night or a homeless person. This not only means no jeans, sweatpants, pajamas, hats, or anything that makes you look sloppy, but it also means do not overdress! Do not wear short skirts, an evening dress, tuxedo, too many accessories or excessive make up. PLAIN & SIMPLE. A conservative suit is what you wear to a job interview and make sure everything is neat. Looking neat and put together shows that you have pride in yourself and your environment which to an employer means that you will take pride in your work and working environment.

#9) Do NOT shake the interviewer's hand like you are afraid he has a disease. A limp handshake is one of the worst impressions you can give at the beginning of the interview. A strong handshake shows confidence and can be a great way to appear sure of yourself even if you are not. Don't overdo it though by crushing the employers hand in pain. That will make him think twice about hiring you as well. Practice on someone until it feels natural.

#8) Do NOT look at the ground or the wall or out the window during the interview . No matter how fascinating it is! Eye contact is extremely important. It helps to build a rapport with the person you are interviewing with. Making eye contact while listening and answering the interview questions shows that you are very interested in the opportunity and want to learn more about it.


#7) Do NOT answer your cell phone. It will NOT make you look popular. First, you should not even bring your cell phone into your interview, but if for some reason you have to bring it in have it set to silent or turn it off. Even the ringing of a cell phone during an interview is very distracting not to mention unprofessional. If you actually answer your cell phone during the interview you might as well get up and walk out of the interview because you will not get the job. The Interviewer should have your full undivided attention. This is the only way he will know that you are serious about the position.

#6) Do NOT look bored. It is important to convey to the interviewer that you are excited about the fact that you are being considered for the opportunity. Sometimes people who are being interviewed have a tendency to become quiet and to look away because they are nervous. Make sure this doesn't happen or you may come off looking bored or uninterested in the position. Even if the interviewer is engaged in a lengthy complex example that you don't understand still show your interest and willingness to learn. If you seem uninterested in being there for the interview then how will you be once you get the position? An employer will question this!

#5) Do NOT act like you are in a silent movie. Talk! Do not give yes or no answers. Elaborate on each question making sure to create the best picture of yourself. When asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions do not say no. Have questions ready based on the job description or questions that show you have been researching the company.

#4) Do NOT babble! As much as you don't want to give yes or no answers you also don't want to go on and on. Stick to the question and get to the point. Many people (myself included) when answering a question about themselves tend to ramble and get off the subject. This is where mock interviews come in handy. It gives you an opportunity to formulate answers that are articulate and to the point.

#3) Do NOT smell. Make sure your personal hygiene is up to par. Take a shower, use deorderant and groom yourself. If you use aftershave or perfume go very light on this. It is always nice to smell good but lots of people are allergic to different smells. Better to go with plain deoderant.

2.) Do NOT sell yourself short. Talk about your past/present successes on the job and in leadership and volunteer roles as they pertain to the position. Have specific examples of your accomplishments that relate to the job description. A great thing to do before the interview is to dissect the job description and jot down examples of your experiences as it relates to the responsibilities of the description. Then put these examples to memory. Practice with friends, family members, and if possible with a career counselor, to make sure that you are giving yourself enough credit and sending the right message! It will make a huge difference and will impress the employer.


AND THE #1 THING NOT TO DO AT AN INTERVIEW IS BRING YOUR PARENTS! This suggestion is geared toward College students. If you think I am crazy, think again. I work in a Career Center of a college and have had students and employers tell me that parents have gone to their child's interview with them. If for some reason you do not have transportation and your parent drives you there they should just leave you off, go do some errands or wait in the car. Please don't let your parents go in and wait and definitely do not let your parents actually go into the interview with you! Hopefully this article will help some of you with the interview process. A process, that can be less intimidating if you are prepared.


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    • Keeley Shea profile imageAUTHOR

      Keeley Shea 

      5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Sadly, that doesn't surprise me CareerC0unsel! LOL! Thanks for the comment.

    • CareerCounsel profile image


      5 years ago from New York City

      You'd think that a lot of this is "common sense", but apparently, common sense is not so common. Take #7) for example: Do NOT answer your cell phone. I've had a candidate pick up his phone mid-interview, excusing himself because it might be important, only to tell his wife he won't forget to pick up the groceries on his way home!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      These are great suggestions. I think what NOT to do at an interview is just as important as what TO do.

    • Keeley Shea profile imageAUTHOR

      Keeley Shea 

      6 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Thanks Naukri! You are absolutely right! Learnig the professionall ethics before appearing for an interview is GREAT advice!

    • naukri profile image


      6 years ago

      Handshake and the way you dress are the first impressions which you make on the interviewer therefore, you should make sure that you have learn the professional ethics before you appear for an interview.

      Mention above are awesome tips that helps a lot to every job seeker.

    • Keeley Shea profile imageAUTHOR

      Keeley Shea 

      6 years ago from Norwich, CT

      I am so glad this was helpful to you! Practice, practice, practice. Good luck to you! I am sure you will be fabulous!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      These are awesome tips! Since I am a very insecure person anyway (yes, I just admitted that!) interviews are super hard for me. I have found myself knowing what I want to say but having a hard time getting it out and sometimes when I do, I know the interviewer is thinking, "what the heck did she just say?" I just get so darned nervous, it's silly!! Thank you for this hub, I will be looking for a job soon and I am saving this to read over before I do any more dreaded interviews :)

    • hi friend profile image

      hi friend 

      6 years ago from India

      useful hub

    • Keeley Shea profile imageAUTHOR

      Keeley Shea 

      6 years ago from Norwich, CT


      Thanks for commenting on my hub! I think we have all made mistakes on interviews. It takes practice and learning from your mistakes to become an expert at it or atleast good enough to get the job! :) Thanks again! Lana

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      Very useful advice!

      I once went to an interview that went very well indeed.

      The interviewer gave me the definite impression that he thought that I would be suitable for the job.

      I did the most stupid thing imaginable. I said 'Do you really think so? Because I didn't think that you would think that I could do it!' ~ or similar babble to that effect.

      I was young and lacking in 'job confidence' at the time. :) :)

    • nicregi profile image

      Reginald Chan 

      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Can't agree more especially with #9. I think, we should all offer a hand shake when we first meet up. Regardless male or female, always offer hand shake to show confident and professional look. Shake hand with a nice firm grip by the way. Good writing!


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