A Career Expert on What Not to Do in a Job Interview (and What to Do Instead)

Job interviews are a key part of finding a new job. Not only is an interview a chance to make a great first impression on your potential employer, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to get to know more about the demands of the role, the culture of the business and the potential for future growth within the company.

“Whether you’re chatting over Zoom or meeting in person, interviews can be nerve-wracking and feel high pressure, but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to make a great first impression,” says Kate Furey, Career Insights Specialist at global hiring platform Indeed.

New research from Indeed has identified five key behaviours that turn off hiring managers. So, if you’ve found a dream role and are prepping for an interview, Furey shares what those behaviours are — and, more importantly, what you should be doing instead.

Arrive Late

Employers are looking for someone they can rely on and turning up late to your first meeting (without a reasonable excuse) makes a bad first impression,” says Furey. In fact, 54% of employers are unimpressed by candidates who turn up late for an interview.

Furey suggests planning to arrive 15 minutes early in case you run into unexpected delays, and to use the extra time to review the job description and questions you’d like to ask.

“Sometimes being late is out of your control, so if you are running behind schedule, make a quick call to your interviewer to let them know you’re on the way,” she says.

Embellish Your Experience

There’s a difference between embellishing and flat-out lying — and employers can tell, says Furey. Over half (52%) of employers are likely to discredit a candidate who has discrepancies between their CV and how they present at an interview.

“It’s okay to be honest if you don’t meet all the job requirements, but owning up to your areas for improvement is always better than misleading a prospective employer,” Furey says.

With 44% of employers stating they dislike hearing negative comments about a former employer or colleague, having a positive attitude is paramount. No matter how bad a previous employer might have been — and we’ve all had a bad boss – focus instead on what went well, what you learned and the constructive reasons you decided to move on, she says.

Go in Unprepared

Candidates who appear to be winging their answers, are unsure about the job responsibilities or are uninformed about the organisation are discredited by 53% of interviewers, according to Indeed’s research. Employers are also looking for candidates who express genuine interest in the work they do with 63% of employers saying they’d pass on a candidate who lacked enthusiasm.

“Always read through the job description, check out the employer’s website and social media channels, and draft up some questions you want to ask,” Furey says. “Employers are looking for someone who shows an interest in their business and seems energised by the role.”

Be Too Casual

With 35% of interviewers saying they are turned off by candidates to are too familiar or give out too much personal information, it’s best to keep your answers concise and relevant and be measured with how you share personal anecdotes.

“Planning how you might answer questions during an interview will stop you from giving a rambling response,” says Furey.

She says a good method to use when answering a question is the STAR response — outline the Situation, describe the Task you completed, explain the Action you took and the Result.

Not Follow Up, or Follow Up Too Soon

“You want to appear interested but not desperate, though waiting for that phone call can be emotional torture,” says Furey. “Not knowing if you’ve got the job can make days feel like months.”

So, before you leave the interview, she suggests asking what the next steps are and when you’re likely to hear back. If you’re waiting for a job offer and haven’t heard anything after meeting with a recruiter, feel free to follow up after 10-14 days.

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.