Top 10 Things Not to do in a Job Interview

While going for a job interview, there are some things that are unforgivable. If you are going through interview preparation, here are some of the biggest interview mistakes or things not to do in a job interview.

So you’ve landed that coveted interview, congratulations! But do check out these common pitfalls that you could fall into. Most employers pay a lot of attention to these small details during the interview. Getting these right is as important as your technical skills and job qualifications.

10 Things You Should Never Do in a Job Interview

  1. Being Late

An absolute no no! Show up late and you’ve just started out on the wrong foot.

  • If you have a valid reason for your tardiness, you can apologize and wriggle out of the situation.
  • Call the office and inform them regarding the situation and reschedule if possible.
  • Take an extra minute, a deep breath, calm yourself down and then go in for the interview. You can rise above the situation like Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. 🙂
  1. Using your Mobile Phone During the Interview

While considering interview skills and what to avoid, this one is a no brainer, I would say. It could ruin the interview. Texting or answering a call during an interview will surely be viewed as unprofessional and downright rude, unless of course, it’s a matter of life and death, God forbid!

  • Put all phones on vibrate or better still, on silent.
  • Stop texting and calling even when waiting for the interview.

Tip: That receptionist could be eyeing you and making a mental note to inform your hiring manager.

  • Don’t use your mobile phone for taking notes.
  • If you’re expecting an urgent call, inform the person when he/she can contact you.
  • You could turn on Voicemail to listen to the message AFTER the interview.
  1. Inappropriate Clothing/Hair

Don’t blow your chances with inappropriate clothing. It’s a major aspect of job interview tips.

  • Don’t wear dirty or ill fitting clothes, just because it’s a one time favorite.
  • No bright pink ties please. Wear a plain one or a striped one in neutral colors.
  • As for shoes, wear something professional and comfortable. You’re not doing a catwalk.
  • Avoid that crazy hairstyle you saw on an ad for the latest shampoo. A simple and smart hairstyle would do.

Tip: If it’s a modelling job, these rules don’t apply, for obvious reasons.

What Not to Do in an Interview

biggest interview mistakes or things not to do in a job interview(Source:

  • If you’re wondering whether you are underdressed or overdressed, it would be better to go in for the latter. Always err on being more formal than necessary.
  • Don’t overpower your interviewer with a strong cologne. A light spray will suffice.
  1. What Not to Do in an Interview: Don’t Lie

If you don’t know the answer to a specific question, don’t lie. Try stalling instead!

  • Take your time and don’t blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind.
  • After gathering your thoughts, speak slowly and clearly. For instance, if you are asked about your copyediting procedures and you don’t actually have any, start talking about the processes that you know or have heard about.
  • If it’s a really difficult question, try connecting it with something that you’re familiar with. For instance, if you are asked about marketing in social media and you do not have this knowledge, redirect it to the kind of marketing you’re familiar with.
  • Alternatively, you could just agree that you don’t know the answer in an interview, but handle the situation saying that it excites you and you are actively attempting to learn more about it.
  1. Wrong Body Language

Wrong Body Language During an Interview


These are some of the things not to do in an interview. Don’t send the wrong message with the wrong body language. A major part of communication is sent through your eyes, posture, smile, a handshake and a lot more.

  • Do not look up, or down or stare into space. Looking down shows lack of confidence and staring into space is disrespectful and shows disinterest. Make direct eye contact.

Tip: Prolonged contact could be interpreted as aggressiveness. Strike the right balance.

  • No hands in pockets or at the back. ( It conveys a lack of honesty as though you’re trying to hide something)

some of the things not to do in an interview(Source:

  • Don’t slouch or cross your arms ( makes you appear defensive and unaccessible).
  • Don’t get too close to the interviewer. Have respect for physical boundaries by maintaining a professional distance And never touch him/her except for a handshake.
  • Match your expression with your answers. For instance, don’t a serious explanation with a flippant smile on your face. Your credibility is weakened and you’re perceived as untrustworthy.
  1. Don’t Give Out Personal Information – What Not to Say in an Interview

  • You don’t have to tell him that you were out dancing till 2 am the other day.
  • For instance, if your hiring manager asks you whether you have transportation, you could answer with a Yes or a No, instead of going into details of your 1994 car issues.
  • Don’t reveal your medical history or your views on politics, religion, the economy or your recent divorce!
  • Only share information that relates to the job, your skills and abilities.
  1. Don’t Forget to Pack your Etiquette Tools for your Next Interview

  • Don’t be too chatty. This is not a tea party. Listen and answer thoughtfully and wisely.
  • Learn how to sit in the correct and accepted posture.
  • Know what not to ask in an interview. Don’t ask impertinent questions. Example: What’s your policy for leave and sickness? You’re not hired yet.
  1. Bragging/Boasting/Arrogance

  • No obvious bragging please! Humble bragging is acceptable if done the right way. We realize your need to impress.
  • Practice talking about your strengths without sounding like a brag.
  • Instead of saying ‘I am the best project manager’ how about ‘I have always strived to give off my best for any project management tasks’.
  1. Criticising Previous Employer

My present employer sucks! You could be thinking this but an interview is not place to say this.

  • Speaking ill of present employers is considered unprofessional and unethical.
  • Your hiring manager will surely contact your current employer, so don’t burn your bridges.
  • If you were kicked out of the job, be honest without being elaborate or bad mouthing your previous employer.
  1. Following Up

  • Sending a thank you note is still the done thing. Write it out in addition to emailing it. It creates a positive impression.
  • It shows respect and courtesy for your interviewer and his company.
  • A thank you letter is a great way to network and engage with the people in your potential workplace.
  • It’s also a great chance to add some information that you forgot to mention in the interview.

Last Word

Unfortunately, there’s no rewind button for a wrong word, a wrong answer or an inappropriate dress or behavior during an interview. Remember you are on the stage from the moment you walk into the office building. One wrong turn and it could derail the whole process.

Many of these tips mentioned might appear harmless, but they could very well bring down your employment chances to a screeching halt. So, avoid these deadly mistakes and you’re sure to land that coveted job!

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