There are hundreds of ways to ruin an interview, but here are 15 that are dear to me, or that candidates have pulled on me in the past.
Show up late
- It's inexcusable. Drive there the day before to make sure you know you can get there in time.
- Your first assignment at this company is to show up prepared. Don't fail it.
Smoke, or smell like smoke
Have bad breath or body odor
- Nobody wants to smell your smells. Eradicate them.
Shake hands like a fish
- Don't shake hands with a death grip, but don't wuss out, either.
- If you find yourself asking "Do I have to do X?" for the interview, play it safe and do it. That means wear a suit.
Speak ill of anyone, especially past employers
- If you complain at the interview, you'll complain all day at work, too. No boss wants to deal with that.
Complain; discuss your problems
- Your boss has his own job-related problems to deal with. He doesn't want to hear about yours.
Bring up your needs, such as money or benefits
- Your interview is all about what you can do for the company, not what they can do for you.
- You'll be found out, and you'll be worried about it until you are.
- No boss wants to hire someone who doesn't care about the job she's going to be doing.
Fail to ask your own questions
- The best way to show that you care, and that you have a mind for business, is to ask your own questions about what you've discussed during the interview.
- Enthusiasm is one thing. Desperation is another.
Leave your phone on
- There's no way you could be expecting a call that's more important than this interview.
Cut the interview short
- Allocate adequate time for an interview. A longer interview is always better, so plan for the good. Don't try to squeeze in an interview on a long lunch hour. Make sure your kids are adequately covered and you don't have to say "Sorry, I have to leave, my sitter can only keep my kids 'til 4:00."