Things You Should Never Do During and After a Job Interview

Interviews can be nerve-wracking. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  • The most frequent errors made by job hopefuls are failing to follow up, checking in often, and being late for the interview.
  • Hiring managers might blunder by not defining their goals, using social media to sway their judgement, or chatting too much during the interview.
  • If you do make a mistake, the best course of action is to admit it right away and fix it.
  • This article is for interviewers trying to create a good impression with applicants as well as job candidates getting ready for the interview process.

Job hopefuls may suffer anxiousness throughout the interview process. Prospects frequently make mistakes before, during, and after interviews as a result of their fear. Not that interviewers are faultless either; they can make poor recruiting judgements by falling into frequent pitfalls. To best prepare for the interview, continue reading.

Before the interview

Be prepared to discuss your professional experience, talents, and reasons why you think you are a good fit for the job and the firm when you arrive for your interview. Make sure you are familiar with the company’s fundamentals, the parameters of your potential function, and, if feasible, the interviewer or interviewers.

Pre-interview checklist

Before the first interview, follow this pre-interview checklist.

Familiarize yourself with the company and role.

It will be clear that you have done your research when you share what you know about the organization. You will be better equipped to respond to queries if you are familiar with the details of the position you are seeking.

Bring your own questions.

Bring up inquiries about the business and the position that your research left open-ended. Allow time for any additional queries that may come up throughout the interview.

Practice answering some basic interview questions.

While there’s no need to remember a script, recognizing your faults and talents can help you respond to these sorts of typical interview questions in a clear and concise manner.

Proofread and print your resume and cover letter.

You should double-check that you recall everything in these documents because it’s possible that they’ll serve as the foundation for your interview. In case your interviewers don’t have access to a printer, you should print extra copies to provide to them.

Plan your route.

You should plan your journey in advance because arriving late for an interview might leave a bad impression. If you’re driving, you might need to account for traffic, or you might want to look at the transport timetables and plan your route so that you can arrive early. Test the connectivity, camera, and audio on your device in advance of the meeting if your initial interview is conducted online.

Choose your outfit and iron out the wrinkles.

Even if you don’t need to wear a suit to your interview, you should nevertheless iron your clothes. Making your outfit selections in advance might help you make a strong first impression.

On the day of the interview, stay away from these frequent interview blunders.

Poor hygiene and personal appearance

It should go without saying that in a work setting, you should constantly maintain proper hygiene. Employers and recruiters agree that no one wants to work next to a stinky coworker. A 2020 Recruiter Nation research states that 46% of recruiters would reject a job applicant due to poor hygiene.

Make sure you seem tidy, professional, and correctly attired for the job you’re applying for. If in doubt, err on the side of formal rather than informal dress.

Late arrival

Being late for a job interview communicates to the recruiter that you don’t care about the position, that you have more pressing obligations, or that you just lack the responsibility to come on time.

This mistake might cost you the job, as 46% of the recruiters questioned said they would stop considering a candidate if they were late. Plan to come for your interview at least 10-15 minutes early to be on the safe side. This offers you more time to double-check that you are where you should be or get a visiting pass. You can examine your notes in the lobby if you have some time to kill, or you can check your attire one more time in the restroom.

Rude attitude to the receptionist

When you visit the workplace for an interview, it’s critical that you treat everyone with respect. You never know who could have an impact on your chance at employment.

According to the Recruiter Nation research, 62% of recruiters said they would exclude an applicant from consideration for a position if they were unkind to the support workers.

Throughout the entire process, be respectful, professional, and kind to everyone you come into contact with. Also, be sure to thank them for their time as you go.

During the interview

Even if you are certain that you can fill the post, you can unintentionally experience unanticipated anxiety once you are seated for the interview. Your nervousness can cause you to say or do something that you’ll later regret. Decide to commit to remembering these errors right away to lessen your likelihood of doing them again.

Excess comfort with the interviewer

Even if you click with the hiring manager, it’s vital to maintain a professional demeanour throughout the interview.

According to Jodi Chavez, president of Randstad USA Professionals, Life Sciences & Tatum, “be friendly, but never become too comfortable.” Many individuals make early assumptions of comfort in an effort to establish rapport, but doing so can turn off your interviewer.

Social media operates in a similar manner. Although it’s a fantastic networking and marketing tool, it’s not the best for mingling with a possible employer.

As soon as the interview is complete, seeking to connect on LinkedIn with a hiring manager or one of the interviewers is a mistake, according to career counsellor and partner of Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting Richard Orbe-Austin. This request could come off as arrogant and turn off the recruiting manager or interviewer.

Do not try to follow, friend, or follow an interviewer on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. General corporate information is OK, but respect the privacy of the interviewees.

Poor body language

Hiring managers take note of your vocal responses, but they also consider the manner in which you present them. Do you give them a direct gaze? Do you fidget or cross your arms over your chest? Do you fiddle with your pen? These nonverbal indicators are very important in how people see you.

You may improve your chances of getting a job by sending off favourable nonverbal clues during an interview. These cues include eye contact, a firm handshake, and good posture.

Generally speaking, maintaining a straight posture shows that you are paying attention, and a tiny forward lean communicates interest and involvement. Everyone feels more at ease when someone smiles warmly and sincere. Additionally, you want to shake hands firmly, but not too firmly—crushing hands is not a good approach to gain favour.

It’s acceptable to use hand gestures throughout a discussion, but avoid fidgeting by shaking your leg, drumming your fingers, or toying with a pencil.

Lastly, continue to make eye contact. Staring could make an interviewer uneasy, but it’s courteous to stare the speaker in the eye while taking brief glances away. Being involved and participatory is the aim. When someone speaks to you and you react, look them in the eye to show that you respect them and are in the moment. Talking to someone while frequently gazing aside or over their shoulder communicates apathy.

Salary expectations increase

The hiring manager at HKA, Mike Astringer, emphasized that part of a candidate’s interview will depend on their initial expectations for salary.

He stated, “We [need to] know that they fit inside our total pay range. “All too frequently, during a job interview, an applicant will get overconfident [and] drastically raise their salary expectations.”

According to Astringer, he bases his offer to a candidate on their original wage goals. At the last minute, candidates should refrain from drastically raising their expectations. “It wastes everyone’s time, it makes the candidate look terrible, and it makes me look awful.”


An interviewer may find it quite unsettling if a candidate exhibits confidence that borders on arrogance. Over 59% of hiring managers said that a candidate’s arrogance or entitlement would be an immediate dealbreaker for them in a CareerBuilder poll from 2018.

The CEO of Mom Beach, Becky Beach, told a tale of a candidate who overestimated his own abilities.

“He attempted to connect with me on LinkedIn a day after the interview with the message, “Thanks for interviewing me yesterday. Please let me know when I may begin working in the role. After that, I made the decision he would not be employed.

Be secure and confident in your skills, but keep in mind that the interviewer is in charge, therefore you should show respect for them.

Lack of transparency

Being frank and sincere can help you come off as a strong candidate with integrity throughout the interview process.

Lisa Barrow, head of recruiting and proprietor of Kada Recruiting, stated of one candidate, “I had them go through two rounds of phone screenings and a day-long interview.” She informed me that she had no open positions elsewhere. She thanked the CEO in an email after the interview and mentioned an offer from another company. The CEO contacted to express his surprise and worry about her lack of process transparency.

Barrow and the CEO had a follow-up conversation with the applicant, who revealed that she wasn’t really thinking about the other offer and had merely brought it up to demonstrate her intense interest in the business. Although she expressed regret, Barrow remarked that “this ultimately demonstrated the significance of transparency and the influence it can have on the process.”

Social media shortsightedness

Many people were interested in the misfortune of the NASA intern who lost her job after cursing out a retired NASA engineer on Twitter. During your job hunt, it should be standard practice to refrain from posting anything crass, disrespectful, or delicate about your interviewing experience.

According to Michelle Merritt, managing partner of Circle City Coaching, “posting about the interview, especially concerning interviewers, might be perceived as a lack of confidentiality or professionalism.”

Better still, always act professionally on social media since potential employers could perform an internet search on a candidate’s name to see what results. Regardless matter where you are in your career, having a polished and professional internet presence is vital.

After the interview

You’ve successfully passed the first interview, congrats! What’s next? Send handwritten or email thank-you notes to each individual who conducted your interview as a follow-up. Be patient after that and avoid making these typical post-interview blunders.

Too much follow-up

Following up after the interview is OK and even required, but avoid annoying your future employer with excessive phone calls and mails. You’ll alienate the recruiting manager if you get in touch with them too frequently.

Many of us have been trained to write thank-you cards straight after after an interview, and perhaps that’s the best course of action, but… Respect whatever communication guidelines the interviewer may have established, said Chavez. For instance, if your interviewer asks for email correspondence, stick to it and don’t pick up the phone.

Your follow-ups, according to her, should also take into account where you are in the interviewing process. “Generally speaking, the earlier in the process you are, the quicker you should check in. If the first phone interview doesn’t get a response, a follow-up may be necessary the following week. However, following a second or third interview, you might want to hold off for 7 to 10 days.

Ask the hiring manager when you may anticipate a response at the conclusion of the interview and when it’s okay to follow up if you haven’t, advised Jennifer Akoma, vice president of human resources at Android Industries. Never initiate contact with anyone who haven’t given you, their consent.

One applicant, according to Akoma, “used an organization with which several of our workers were affiliated to obtain their internal emails and phone numbers.” Their guerrilla methods had a very detrimental effect on myself and many staff members.

One or two days following the interview, it’s polite to write a thank you note to anybody you spoke with, and then wait for them to respond with the next steps. Remember that you might not always get a response.

No follow-up

It is crucial to thank your interviewer for their time and work after the interview by sending some kind of letter, whether it be by snail mail, email, or even a phone call.

The biggest error I see individuals making after an interview is failing to follow up, according to Melissa McClung, a certified career counsellor and founder of Life by Design Careers. It’s crucial to follow up by email, card, or letter.

A candidate who follows up after the interview demonstrates that they are still interested in the role, claims Zohar Pinas, CEO of Monster Cloud.

He stated, “A post-interview email informing me of their interest in the position demonstrates ambition, as well as telling me that the applicant enjoyed the interview and is actually still interested in working for me. Additionally, it is the proper thing to do.

By reiterating your interest and being polite, you may sell yourself to the interviewer at the follow-up interview. Sample Thank-You Letters for After the Interview (Read Related Article)

Missing personalization

Irina Pichura, a professional advisor, advised sending as much personal correspondence as you can. “Remember the issues from the interview, any additional information you’d like to provide that you were unable to discuss in the interview, and stress your interest in the organization.”

Take the time and effort to customize your message to the interviewer because the majority of hiring managers can recognize a generic thank-you letter (or cover letter, for that matter) a mile away. Don’t just talk about your talents or the job description; bring up anything you discussed.

For instance, suppose you mentioned a task you completed while holding a different position. As a nod to the conversation and a method to highlight your abilities, include a link to or a sample of that project in your follow-up.

Ghosting communication

Contact the employer and let them know that you wish to withdraw your application if you feel that the position is not a good fit for you, for any reason. The polite thing to do is to appreciate the effort made by the person who interviewed you with a grateful thank-you and official withdrawal. They took time out of their busy schedule for you.

What to do if you mess up

Mistakes do occur. Although it depends on how bad the error was, you may typically bounce back if you manage little slip-ups gracefully.

Rishit Shah, an accountant and the publisher of the Tally School blog, remembers a candidate who wrote his letter of appreciation to the wrong employee by mistake. “He swiftly expressed regret and addressed the letter to the proper recipient. I admired the fact that he admitted his error and swiftly made it right.

But whatever transpires following a mistake, don’t tear down relationships.

Akoma advised sending a polite follow-up to the recruiting supervisors and/or the HR representative to demonstrate interest in potential future chances if you don’t win the job. It will leave a positive impression and could lead to more options being evaluated for you.

Mistakes to avoid as an interviewer

Sometimes job seekers forget that being on the opposite side of the process may be just as difficult. Finding a candidate who can carry out the position’s responsibilities, fit in with the corporate culture, want the compensation the job offers, and satisfy many other crucial requirements puts pressure on interviewers and hiring managers.

Even interviewers make mistakes. Here are a few of the most typical errors interviewers make and suggestions for avoiding them.

Subjective or arbitrary criteria

The interviewer should ensure that the evaluation process is as systematic, job-specific, and objective as possible rather than “screening out” prospects based on an initial gut feeling or random factors, such as GPA, the address on a CV, or the sound of a candidate’s name. According to Michael Burtov, the founder and CEO of GeoOrbital, they will have the opportunity to recruit fantastic individuals that they may not have otherwise ever thought to interview.

Social media bias

Despite the fact that social media is now a significant factor in job searches, Burtov claims that it might cause unconscious biases in interviewers. Social media accounts frequently include images of applicants and other details that are unrelated to the position, but which might unduly affect hiring decisions.

Keep your attention on the information on their LinkedIn page that is pertinent to their career.

Too much chitchat

During interviews, it’s typical for the interviewer to start talking incessantly about the job, the business, the culture, and other aspects of the position. While this may play a significant role in introducing the applicant to the business, it’s crucial to offer them plenty of opportunity to speak. You are more likely to base your hiring choice on objective criteria rather than incomplete and perhaps biased perceptions the more job-relevant information you know about the candidate. The 80/20 rule is an excellent one to follow while conducting interviews.

Personal partiality

Humans have a tendency to get along better with others who share our own tastes in things like music, sports, television shows, fashion, and other non-work-related activities.

Keep in mind during interviews that loving the same TV series is not a reliable indicator of work performance. Interviewers shouldn’t let their unconscious bias of “being like me” affect their evaluation. Maintain as much objectivity and concentration on the job requirements as you can, especially while figuring out whether the applicant fits your company’s culture. This is where having many interviewers talk to the same applicant may be beneficial since you can all compare your opinions on the individual’s personality, talents, and cultural fit to make an objective choice.

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