What You Should Not Do at an Interview

A successful interview is not only dependent on what you did right, but also on what you avoid doing as well. Read on to find out what are the mistakes you should not be making.

By Leona Ang

Most people are focused on doing everything right in an interview. They research and ask around for tips on how to handle an interview. Sometimes, in the fervent spirit of doing everything right, you might end up doing the wrong thing. Hence, while finding out what needs to be done, you should also take note on what to avoid in order to increase the chance of a successful interview. Here is a list of things to look out for!

1. SHOW UP LATE
First impression counts, and if you want to start off on the wrong foot, there’s no better way than to be late for your interview. To make things worse, make up lame excuses for your tardiness. Conversely, you can act nonchalant. After all, it’s cool to be fashionably late.

2. DRESS INAPPROPRIATELY
Dress in bright hues for your interview, with the intention of creating a lasting impression. Since your interviewer does not know you, one way to access you is through your dressing, and with blinding colours, you will definitely be assessed and remembered, just not favourably.

Power up your personal aura by wearing power suits that splash the latest designer name (in Italian, no less) across your chest. Or you may want to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack by accessorising yourself with huge dangling earrings or bracelets and rings. While you think that power dressing and accessorizing will sit well with the interviewer, in reality, the opposite might happen. The interviewer may think of you as nothing more than a flashy individual.

3. LACK OF GROOMING
You are the rugged type, so show up at the interview unshaven, with unkempt hair and uncut nails. After all, you think you look cool with the carefree look and really, who’s going to look at your nails? For girls, paint your nails bright red, and turn up with a fully made-up face to create a good impression, but will it? I have gal pals who told me that interviewers have told them bluntly that they have too much make up on.

Forget to pop some mints into your mouth just before the interview, and hence exude bad breath, or worse, turn up with body odour, which I’m sure will charm the pants off your interviewer.

4. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR OWN RESUME
Go into the interview with minimal knowledge of your own resume. After all, you had sent a copy to the company, which you assumed the interviewer must have read before calling you in for the interview. When you get asked to elaborate on your previous work experience in reference to your resume, just shrug your shoulders and say it’s all on my resume, you have read it right? If you don’t want to appear rude, then make up something in the hope that they correspond with your resume.

5. POSTURE AND BODY LANGUAGE
Do not make a conscious effort to stand up straight when greeting your interviewer. In fact, slouch, because you’re so used to it and you are supposed to be yourself and act natural right? Next, offer a limp hand to your interviewer because you want to conserve energy for the real part of the interview. Make yourself comfortable when you sit in your chair, slump if you wish. Being the dramatic person that you are, talk in the most animated manner with flailing hands that go all over the place.

Or if you are the reserved type, fold your arms when talking to the interviewer, because you don’t really know where to place them. As you progress in your interview, begin to reveal signs of your bad habits, such as fidgeting, leg-shaking or knuckle-cracking. I know of a friend who is into intensive crackling of knuckles and has confessed that interviewers are often distracted by that.

6. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIRING COMPANY
Do not bother to research on the hiring company at all. It is up to the interviewer to let you know more about the company. Anyway, you are just there for an interview, not to start work. When you do get asked on what you know of the company, just hazard a guess or two, or just tell your interviewer at point blank that you have no idea what the company does and you expect him/ her to fill you in instead.

7. LACK OF EYE CONTACT
When conversing with the interviewer, avoid locking gaze, since you feel uncomfortable with maintaining eye contact. Instead, focus on his/ her nose or neck or you may prefer some other point of focus, as long as it’s not the interviewer’s gaze.

Since it’s your first time in the company, you are merely curious about the office décor, so develop a roving eye. Let your eyes wander around the surroundings during the interview, looking at the wall painting, the view outside the window, basically everything except your interviewer.

8. LACK OF RESPONSIVENESS
When the interviewer asks you questions, act indifferently and give curt “yes” or “no” answers, and when asked to elaborate, just reply that you have nothing more to say, displaying lack of enthusiasm and interest. Yawn from time to time when the interviewer tells you more about the company, and say that you have no questions after he/she is finished.

9. HAVE POOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Answer questions in a roundabout manner, or give rambling answers that do not address the questions put to you.

When unable to express yourself clearly, pepper your sentences with “erm”, “uh” and “ah”, or stutter. Fill your sentences with slangs, bad grammar and occasionally slip into Singlish mode, adding in “lah” and “lor”, as you think speaking in Singlish might make the interview more casual and relaxed.

10. POOR CONDUCT OR LACK OF MANNERS
Interrupt the interviewer in mid-sentence because you just remembered you left out something a while ago. You’re afraid that if you let the interviewer finish his/her sentence, you might forget what you wanted to say.

Burp in the middle of the interview and not apologise as you feel that burping is a perfectly normal human condition.

Brag about accomplishments in your previous companies, and engage in excessive self-praise.Everyone says you need to be proactive and assertive, and this is merely a display of self-confidence.

To get your idea firmly across, talk in an aggressive manner; otherwise, you think that he/she will not get your point. In a lunch or dinner interview, show inappropriate behaviour like eating and talking at the same time, or fiddle around with items around you, like contents on the dinning table.

11. UNTRUTHFUL
Lie about reasons for leaving your previous company, and in attempts to please the interviewer, declare to having skills that you don’t possess. Your immediate goal is to pass the interview process, so just get pass this bit first and worry about the repercussions later.

12. CRITICISM OF PREVIOUS EMPLOYER(S)
Pour out all your grievances about your previous companies to your interviewer in hope of getting sympathy. Criticize the work ethics of previous managers, and in the process, reveal more than you should about companies that you’ve worked in, demonstrating a lack of ethics.

13. INABILITY TO PROVE YOUR WORTH
Attend the interview without knowing exactly what the applied position requires, and as a result, fail to brush up on the skills that are needed. If asked about how you are able to take on the position, appear dumbfounded and reply with a deafening silence, or make up some nonsensical answers to cover up your ignorance. When the interviewer inquires about your talents, show him how you can burp on demand. That will impress him!

14. PRETEND TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT
Suppress your true personality and assume a different identity when you go for interviews. Put on a fake accent or attempt to speak in certain manner. Laugh in a dainty manner or stride about with flair. While you think you are exuding charm by creating a persona that you think will appeal to the interviewer, you couldn’t be more mistaken. The interviewer is not ignorant; he/she might take that as being pretentious, and get turned off instead of being bowled over.

15. BE MONEY MINDED
Pay is very important to you. That is all you really care about anyway, not the job. So every five minutes or so, ask about the pay package, inquire about monetary benefits and bonus scheme of the company. It’s a realistic question, but excessive mentions of it make you a less desirable candidate, leaving the interviewer wondering if you are interested in just the money.


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