5 Things You Should Never Do in an Interview

So, on Monday I talked about what you should do to interview like a pro, based on some of my research and personal experiences. Today, I’m going to talk about things you should NOT do in an interview, unless you want to purposely bomb your interview and burn some bridges on your way out. Ok, here we go…

1. Never leave an interview mid-interview

There is one particularly bad interview that comes to mind when I think about cutting an interview short, but instead of being rude and ducking out early, I just grinned and bared it until it was over. For some context, it was when I was unemployed after university and was so desperate for a job that I applied to one of those really fishy-looking jobs posted on Craigslist. They called the job direct marketing, but really it was door-to-door sales (I’m still shocked that type of job still exists!).

Any who, after about 5 minutes of talking with my potential manager, I knew I didn’t want to work for the company. The manager was a complete sleezeball, the pay was crap, and I knew that I did not get a degree only to sell crap door-to-door. I really wanted to just say “Yeah, this isn’t for me” mid-interview and leave, but I remembered that you never know who’s connected to who, and who you may work for in the future, so instead of burning a bridge I just stayed for the full interview and hoped to God I wouldn’t get a call back.

2. Never over-share

I’ve got to say, I’ve been guilty of this once or twice too. Sometimes when an interview has a relaxed atmosphere and you feel pretty confident you’re going to get an offer, you can fall into the trap of sharing too much, either about your past job or personal life. No matter what it’s always best to be friendly but still professional. An interview is not the time to whip out your iPhone to show photos of your dog to your interviewer or to start bashing the jerk you shares your current cubicle. Which leads me to…

3. Never bash your employer, past or present

It doesn’t matter how much you hate one of your employers, it’s never cooled to badmouth them in an interview. It comes off as bitter and may cause the interviewer to think that you might do the same to them if you are hired then decide to leave for another opportunity.

If you’re asked why, you left your last job and it had to do with the bad office culture or a terrible boss, I’d still probably not mention it and say something like you wanted a new challenge or to work in a different industry. It’s best to just let it go and leave all that negativity where it came from.

4. Never say “Nope” if you’re asked if you have any final questions

I’ve got to admit, I did this at an interview once, but it was because I knew that the job was not the right fit for me. To look like you’ve researched the company and are interested in the position, always have a good question or two to ask the interviewer at the end of the meeting.

That being said, don’t just ask anything like “Does the office offer free coffee to employees?” Ask questions like what you should be expected to accomplish in the role in the first few months, what is the manager’s managing style, and although some people think it’s a bit gauche to ask, if it hasn’t already been brought up yet it’s important to ask what kind of salary and benefits package is included.

5. Never drink during an interview

I’m not talking about pulling out a flask and taking a bit swig during an interview (though that’s an obvious no-no too). If by chance you’re doing a lunch or dinner interview for a job, even if the interviewer is indulging in a glass or wine, don’t follow suit. Sure, it would be a great way to calm your nerves, but it will also cloud your focus, and it just doesn’t come off as professional. Stick with water or coffee and you should be fine.

What other things should you never do during an interview? Anyone else want to share some of their bad interview experiences?

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