28 JOB INTERVIEW KNOCKOUTS
There are many things you can say and do that can knock you out of
consideration for a job offer. Do any of the following and you may be politely
shown the door with this unenthusiastic closing: “Thanks for coming. We’ll call
you if we have any further questions.”
- Present a poor personal appearance, including clothing and grooming.
- Project an overbearing, overly aggressive, “know-it-all” posture.
- Express incomplete thoughts.
- Speak poorly – problems with voice, diction, and grammar.
- Lack career planning – no objective apparent.
- Act passive or indifferent – no clear purpose or goal.
- Lack confidence – too nervous and ill at ease.
- Make excuses, appear evasive, and hedge when asked sensitive questions
- Speak ill of previous employers.
- Maintain poor eye contact.
- Offer a limp handshake.
- Express no interest in company, doing no research on the company or
- Arrive late for the interview.
- Ask about salary and benefits too soon and too often.
- Lack courtesy and is ill-mannered.
- Project a cynical attitude.
- Try to be humorous with inappropriate jokes and irritating laughter.
- Drop names and emphasize “who I know.”
- Express intolerance and strong prejudices.
- Smoke or chew gum.
- Fail to express appreciation for the interviewer’s time.
- Talk about personal problems and financial needs.
- End with an inappropriate and presumptuous closing, such as “When can I
- Wear heavy perfume, cologne, or shaving lotion.
- Appear very self-centered by asking questions relevant to his or her needs
rather than to the employer’s needs.
- Offer very short answers to questions – appear to lack substance,
interest, and enthusiasm.
- Do not ask questions about the job or
SOURCE: Adapted from Bernard Haldane Associates, Haldane’s Best Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications, 2000), pp. 88-89. All rights reserved.