Dont do these things during an interview !

Dont do these things during an interview !
As some of you will know if you read my blog here a few weeks ago, I talked about a whole range of questions you could and should ask during a job interview.  It is always better to be fully prepared than not at all in my opinion, particularly when the inevitable question near the end of the interview is “Do you have any questions for me ?”.

On a similar theme, someone called me earlier today who has an interview this Thursday through McGinnis Loy, and asked me what things they shouldn’t do and what questions they shouldn’t ask during the interview.  Basically, they were looking for me to give them some tips which would help their chances of getting a 2nd interview.  Off the cuff, I told them about a number of things, which then got me thinking that perhaps I should do a blog post exactly on this subject.

There are many things you should NOT do during an interview, and many questions I suggest you do not ask either, just in case what you say or do jeopardises the outcome.  The list really is endless, but below I have highlighted some of the more important things you should definately NOT do during an interview.  If you can think of any others, or have real life examples we could use, please let me know so that I can add them to the blog, or feel free to post them on our Forum.  The more comprehensive this list becomes, the more useful it will be for everyone.


‘Questions NOT to ask during a job interview’ will be the topic I will focus on next week.

Dont do it ……..

DONT criticise or put down your current company – this will not be seen in a positive light because no company or indeed person is perfect, and there is always room for improvement in everything a company does.

DONT criticise or complain about your boss or colleagues – it is surprising how many people know other people in competitor businesses, or even know them outside of the work environment.  Don’t criticise you boss or indeed an ex-boss personally, because you don’t know if the interviewer may actually know them or has worked with them previously.

DONT your company acroynms, slogans or phrases – every company has their own language to a certain extent, but an interviewer will not understand what you are talking about if you use them in conversation.  Therefore, talk in generic terms or explain clearly what the terms or abbreviations mean to prevent any confusion.


DONT take control of the interview remember that it is you who is being interviewed, so let the interviewer lead the meeting as they will know what they want to get from it, and how best to assess you. By all means at the end of the interview, interject with key skills you think have not been discussed which are relevant, but do not take over the interview.


DONT talk Politics or Religion – your views on either of these subjects has nothing to do with your experience or ability to do the job, so there is no point talking about them.


DONT lie about your previous experience – it just isn’t worth it.  If the interviewer doesn’t catch you out through their in-depth questioning, your references might if they don’t match up with what you talked about during the interview.  Even if you do get offered the position and start in the new role, you new employer may further down the line start to question your ability and revisit previous experience on your CV, which may be a good enough reason to let you go.


DONT be egotistical – whilst you may be a self-confident and assertive person by nature, it is not ideal as an interviewer to have someone sat in front of them blatantly come across as arrogant, big-headed and trying to prove their self-importance.  There is a fine balance between confidence and arrogance, just make sure you know how to play it effectively.


DONT fail to engage or ‘open up’ – you will always have competitors, and therefore will need to answer questions with more than just yes / no answers.  The more in-depth and open you become having a conversation about a particular topic, the more an interviewer will be able to assess your relevance and suitability for the position.


DONT be in a rush – time is precious for everyone nowadays, but clock-watching will not create the right impression during the interview.  Make sure you do not put yourself in a position when you need to cut short the meeting because you have to get back to work, or have another interview to go to.  Expect to be in an interview for approximately 1 – 1½ hours, unless you are told otherwise, so do allow enough time and plan properly.


DONT use swear words or profanitythis should be obvious, but I have known people to swear on telephone interviews and in face-to-face interviews (and yes, none were invited back).  It won’t do you any favours at all using such words, you should always be polite and remember to think about what you are going to say before you say it.


DONT have an argument with the interviewersimilar to point 10, the interview is about you and your skills relevant for the job.   Getting into arguments is unlikely to do you any favours in trying to secure another interview with the company.


DONT have chewing gum or sweets in your mouthagain, this should be obvious, but people still do it.  This can really put people off and give them the wrong impression of you.  Use mints or gum to make your breath smell fresher than it may do otherwise, but get rid of it before you enter the company’s reception.


DONT slouch in your seathow you sit and what you do can be as important as what you say in an interview.  Don’t slouch or sit too casually in the chair, as this could be interpreted as you showing no interest or enthusiasm in wanting to be there.


DONT have sweaty hands or a floppy handshakea small thing maybe, but very noticeable during an interview.  Always greet the interviewer(s) by their name, have clean dry hands and offer a good firm handshake as it shows you in a confident light and the fact you are really interested in meeting them


DONT be negative on yourselfa vast number of people are negative about themselves when they talk about their previous experience during interviews.  Rather than saying you don’t have a particular skill set to an interviewer, turn it round into a positive by saying that is the very reason you came to the interview, because you want to learn that new skill.  It is a more positive way of answering the question, than simply saying “no I don’t have that”


DONT look miserableirrespective of what else is going on at work or home that may be making you anxious, worried or downbeat, just for this one hour of your time, try to blank it out.  Coming across enthusiastic, passionate, positive and full of energy will show you in a positive light, and will be picked up in your body language.


DONT be lateperhaps this shouldn’t be listed here at all, as I know the heading above assumes you are already at the interview, but it is still a very relevant and worthwhile reminder.  Always turn up on time and have your route planned beforehand, or ideally do a dummy run the night before.  It is amazing how many people call me from their mobile in the car to say they are on their way to the job interview, but are going to be 10-15 minutes late because they didn’t think it would take them so long.  Not the best of starts, and what would they of done if I wasn’t able to take their call at that particular time ?.


  • Valuable tips ! Thanks for posting them on your Blog.

  • Thanks Arvind. I have just done another post that could interest you, regarding questions you shouldnt ask either.