Ten Great Ways to Blow a Job Interview

iStockphoto.com |  IPGGutenbergUKLtd

iStockphoto.com | IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Everyone blows a job interview at some point. Here’s ten proven ways to do it in style. 

  1. Show up late. This proves to the employer that you do not have time management skill, AND that you lack respect for both the process and your potential co-workers. There is nothing recruiters, hiring managers, and participants in the interview process love more than waiting for a candidate to show up.

  2. Don’t bother to bring copies of your resume. Assume that Human Resources, or whoever is in charge of the hiring process, will take care of this for you. They really aren’t that busy, and they’re thrilled when they can do free administrative work for complete strangers using company resources.

  3. Treat your interviewers with respect in correlation to their position in the company. Nothing demonstrates your business acumen to an employer better than letting your attitude tell everybody where in the corporate hierarchy you believe they fall. Really want to nail this one? Don’t be cordial to the receptionists and assistants.

  4. Be non-specific in your answers to questions. Really make the interviewers dig to get information about you, or assume they already know everything about you. Make them earn their paycheck. You already spent an entire evening entering all this stuff into their endless online application, and didn’t they do a background check? They should know all this stuff already. Your value should be obvious and should not require explanation in an interview.

  5. Start the interview by asking how much the job pays. There is no reason to talk to these people if the money is no good, so best to lead with it. This sends the message that you are primarily interested in collecting a paycheck, which is a sure-fire way to impress both the recruiter and CEO alike.

  6. Don’t bother being friendly. We all know kindness and friendliness reek of weakness – you don’t want to leave the impression that you are weak! Interviewers may mistake your friendliness for skills necessary to be a productive team player, or for a personality that aligns with their corporate culture. Rudeness wins.

  7. Don’t bother to dress for the occasion. Way too much emphasis is put on the way you look in our culture, especially at work. Show your potential employer that you are an independent, non-conformist, maverick by shunning the traditional “interview dress code” for whatever may still be clean. This has the side benefit that when you receive an offer, you’ve set expectations so low that you won’t have to spend a penny on work attire for years to come.

  8. Forget about researching about the company or the job. Wing it. Preparation and knowledge are for candidates who are serious about their careers, and companies are all the same. You will “win it in the room” because of your natural born charisma and magnetic personality. Besides, you have a sweet connection who already works there.

  9. Don’t make eye contact with your interviewers. It is said that you can see the soul through the eyes, so make as little eye contact as possible, especially if it’s a panel interview with multiple participants. There is no telling what is lurking down there in your soul that may pop out and ruin your credibility. If you must, focus intently only on the ranking interviewer (not creepy at all) and pretend the other participants aren’t there. If asked a direct question, answer, but stare at your shoes.

  10. Don’t bother sending thank you notes to everyone. Not only is sending anything a note outdated, so is saying, “thank you.” You’re entitled to every job for which you interview, so why thank the interviewers for doing their job. And why use written language when your email and smart phone have a library of emojis to make your point? You don’t want to show weakness in the form of gratitude – you could unfairly earn a reputation for being professional.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: In case you couldn’t tell, this was tongue-in-cheek. This is a compilation some of the more self-defeating behavioral traits I’ve seen applicants display in an interview setting. Just sayin’.

Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.