7 Ways to Ruin Your Job Interview

You’ve applied for dozens of jobs and followed up with every application. Finally, after a few weeks of hard work and waiting, you receive an email asking for an interview.

Securing an interview is very exciting and overwhelming at the same time. In fact, 92 percent of U.S. adults fear something about the interview process. Whether it’s not being qualified enough for the position or not impressing the hiring manager, there’s a lot to worry about when preparing for a job interview.

Unfortunately, there are some things you can do during the interview that can cost you the job. But if you are aware of the mistakes you can make during the interview process, you’ll be more prepared for success:

1. You apologize for showing up late.

The No. 1 worst way to ruin your job interview is to arrive late. Regardless of your excuse, there’s no reason for you to be tardy for a job interview.

To avoid showing up late for an interview, give yourself more than enough time to arrive to the interview. If you think traffic is going to be heavy or parking will be difficult to find, don’t hesitate to give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get to your interview. It’s also a good idea to call ahead of time to find out where the closest parking is and if you’ll need a pass.

2. You say the wrong things.

What you say during an interview greatly impacts your success. If you say the wrong things, you can hurt your chances at landing the job.

For example, avoid saying negative phrases during the interview such as, “I don’t have experience in XYZ” or “I don’t know.” This can give the interviewer the impression you aren’t confident in your skills or experience.

3. You forget what’s on your resume.

Believe it or not, you should actually study your resume before heading into an interview. Although you may think you know everything about your previous experience, hiring managers are bound to ask for the specifics during your interview.

Be sure to study every position you held in the past inside and out. Have an accomplishment story prepared for each job, and be sure you can explain what you learned from each experience.

4. You don’t prepare questions for the interviewer.

There’s nothing worse than wrapping up an interview and sitting in silence.

Every hiring manager expects candidates to have at least one question prepared for them at the conclusion of the interview. This shows you are genuinely interested in the position and were engaged throughout the entire interview.

5. You tell a white lie.

Although lying about something such as your GPA doesn’t seem harmful, it could actually hurt your chances at landing a job. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of employers have caught a lie on a resume.

The best way to impress employers is to be completely transparent during the hiring process. Even if you’re discouraged by something such as your low GPA, it’s unnecessary to lie about it. Even the smallest white lie can send a red flag to employers.

6. You ask the wrong questions.

Although vacations and salary are important things to most job seekers, these are questions you should save for the hiring manager to ask you. Asking about perks before the employer brings up the conversation can give the wrong impression.

7. You failed to research the company.

Never, ever walk into a job interview without doing research first. Regardless of how confident you are in your skills and experience, if you don’t know how your skills apply to the job, you might miss out on your opportunity to shine.

Before your interview, study the company’s mission statement and values, learn about their clients and services, and follow them on social media. This will make you more knowledgeable during the interview.

What things should job seekers avoid doing during the interview process?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


  1. Paul says

    Thanks for the good information. I have studied and researched this information for months and you are right. Again, thank you for the information.

  2. Jonathan Carroll says

    You left out the biggest No-No.
    Do not, under any circumstances, say anything negative about your last employer.

  3. C.A.H. says

    Some of these points were helpful, but #2 – “You say the wrong things” – is not informative in the least. We, the readers, know this is a landmine. We came here for a prioritization of what the wrong things are.

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