8 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Job Interview

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Interviews and hiring processes are difficult enough without you sabotaging your own chances. One awkward moment, comment or behavior could put you one-step further from that dream job.

It’s important to avoid some of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors once you get your chance to shine.

1. You Are Late

If you’re getting to the interview late, you’re already off to a bad start. Traffic or parking issues shouldn’t keep you from being at least 10-15 minutes early to your interview. You want a few minutes to relax before being called in the room.

If you feel rushed, you’ll be even more flustered. There’s nothing worse than walking into a room full of people you realize are waiting for you. Many of them have likely made a determination about you already that will be hard to come back from.

You Didn’t Research The Company

It quickly becomes clear to the interviewers if you haven’t spent any time looking into the organization. At the very least, candidates should be taking the time to look over the company website and forming a few questions about the information they see.

Asking a recruiter or hiring manager to explain what the company does is the equivalent of telling them you don’t really care who you work for, you just want a job.

You Are Arrogant

There is a fine line between showing how confident you are in an interview and being arrogant. You want to be able to speak to your strengths and highlight your accomplishments. This can be done without putting down others.

The moment you start taking credit for all the work or telling the interviewers that you were the highest performer, is the minute you cross that line. Don’t bad mouth former (or current colleagues) or say things like “I just don’t feel challenged”.

You Are Too Distracted

Phone and video interviews are becoming more common today. Just because you may not have to sit in the same room with the hiring managers, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have your full attention.

There’s nothing worse to an interviewer that having a hard time hearing a candidate because of background noise. Public places increase the likelihood that it will not only be hard to hear each other, but also hard to focus. Phone interviews should also never be taken in the car. You are essentially telling the interviewer that you have better places to be (or be traveling to).

Kids, pets, TVs and other possible distractors should be avoided. Make sure you handle any possible interruption before you get on the call or video conference. Not giving the company your undivided attention will tank the interview before it even starts.

You Try To Negotiate Too Soon

There is a subtle art to negotiating during the interview process. That art is best left to the end when the company is set on having you join their team. Companies are often more open to negotiate salary, benefits and perks with their top candidate.

Candidates who come into the first interview asking about telecommute opportunities or flexible work schedules risk confusing their priorities. Hiring managers may feel that you are insistent on things being the most convenient or beneficial to you with little flexibility.

Your Body Language Is Negative

You can be nervous during a job interview. In fact, it’s often expected. You are not likely to be discounted for the role because you appeared a bit nervous. If you are unable or unwilling to make eye contact with your interviewers, that might hurt you.

Don’t slouch in your chair or engage in any annoying habits (nail biting, toe tapping, etc.). Be sure to smile naturally when answering questions or talking to your interviewers. When you are being asked questions, simple movements like leaning forward or light nodding indicate an interest in what’s being said.

You Try To Connect Too Soon

For many people, interviewing for a job is also an opportunity to grow a professional network. There such a thing as too soon when it comes to trying to connect with your interviews via social media or professional networks.

Sending a LinkedIn request to an interviewer immediately after an interview is only slightly less aggressive than sending the request before the interview takes place. It often feels forced and can be overwhelming for recruiters or hiring managers.

Remember that we work in a multi-generational workforce. Some people don’t see social media or professional networks as the tool others do. Wait until you are sure an invite or request won’t be seen as forceful before you send it.

You Try To Get Information About The Competition

You should be focused on yourself and how you can be an asset to the company in the interview, not the others who are also being considered. Asking hiring managers how many other applicants are being considered or how you compare to those applicants are off-putting questions. They often make interviewers uncomfortable, which means they become less comfortable with you.

It’s often helpful to put yourself in the interviewers’ shoes and think about what candidate behaviors would turn you off to the idea of giving them a job. Candidates should behave the same way they expect others to if the situation was reversed.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
LinkedIn

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees.

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