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Build Your Career Get the Job

5 Things to Never Do During a Job Interview

bad interview, interview tips
Certain mistakes during a job interview could ruin your chances of landing the position. / Credit: Bad interview image via Shutterstock

When hiring managers and recruiters are meeting with dozens of job candidates, sometimes it takes a single mistake to be taken out of the running. From bringing in food to being rude to the support staff, there are some things to never do during an interview.

According to the "2017 Recruiter Nation Report," there are several things interviewees do that are immediate deal-breakers for recruiters across all industries.

It doesn't matter what field you are in, what position you are applying for or who the hiring manager is – here are five things to never do during an interview.

When you go in for an interview, be kind to everyone in the office. You never know who determines whether you get the job. According to the report, the worst thing an interviewee can do is be rude the receptionist or support staff. Eighty-six percent of recruiters noted that if a potential employee is rude to the receptionist, they will take the candidate out of the running for the job.  

"Beyond the fact that being kind is the right thing to do, recruiters often look to their receptionists to be the first judge of character," said Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite. "If someone can't be kind to the receptionist within a few minutes of a meeting, that doesn't bode well for their ability to be respectful to potential future co-workers they will see every day. It's a major red flag."

James Sudakow, owner of CH Consulting, Inc., said being rude to a receptionist or support staff indicates the candidate is automatically placing themselves on a higher level of the corporate hierarchy.

"If being rude to a receptionist represents someone's best behavior, the company is in for some challenges if this candidate is hired and experiences typical job-related stresses," Sudakow said.  

It can be annoying when you are talking with someone and they keep checking their phone. But, in a job interview, it's more than annoying – it's unprofessional and rude. More than 70 percent of recruiters say it's a deal-breaker if a potential employee checks their phone during an interview.

Jessica Sweet, career coach and psychotherapist at Wishingwell Coaching, said your phone should be turned off and in a purse or briefcase during an interview.

"If you can't give your undivided attention for the interview, it will be assumed you won't give your full attention to your job either," she told Business News Daily.  

Bitte agrees that candidates should have their phones put away during an interview. If you fidget with your phone, "it says to the recruiter that you have more important things to do and the interview isn't your priority," she said.

However, Bitte said there might be a few exceptions to the rule; for example, if a family member is in the hospital. But let the recruiters know that before the interview starts and ask if it's okay to keep your phone on.

Being late to a job interview tells the recruiter that you don't care about the job, have more important things to do or aren't responsible. Fifty-eight percent of the recruiters who were surveyed indicated they will remove a candidate from further consideration if they are late. Just to be safe, candidates should be early to a job interview.

"Typically, arriving to an interview about 10 minutes early is the right balance between too eager and showing you are prepared," Bitte said. "Build in 20 extra minutes for unforeseen traffic jams and other issues. If you get there too early, you can always hang out at the coffee shop next door until 10 minutes before. Just don't bring the coffee into the meeting!"

However, sometimes being late is unavoidable due to circumstances beyond your control. If that happens, let the hiring manager know as soon as possible.

"The best thing to do is be honest and transparent," Bitte said. "Call ahead, apologize and give them an updated ETA so that they can plan accordingly or reschedule if need be."

It should go without saying that you should always have good hygiene in a professional environment. No one wants to work with a smelly co-worker and recruiters agree. More than half of recruiters would disqualify a job candidate because of bad hygiene.

"To me, bad hygiene would be ... if I can tell they haven't showered or put any effort into their self-care ... just by looking at them from a few feet away," Bitte told Business News Daily. "How do I know they will be presentable for work on a regular basis? It raises broader questions about someone's organization skills and level of professionalism."

Sudakow noted there are a lot of elements to poor hygiene, such as unkempt clothing and hair, but the worst is body odor.

"This is a significant challenge of people in the workplace to deal with given some of the tight work space we have these days," he told Business News Daily

It's rude to interrupt anyone during a regular conversation, but doing it during an interview could cost you the job. Thirty-nine percent of recruiters say they would disqualify a candidate if they interrupt the interviewer.

"Interrupting can mean that you're not a good listener, that you believe what you have to say is more important than what other people are saying or, in this situation, that you have trouble with authority," said Sweet.

Other deal-breakers include bringing food or drinks to the interview, dressing too casually and having a bad handshake.  

Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana, and is currently a B2B staff writer at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.