Nine Things You Should Never Do in an Interview
As a recruiter in the Staffing Industry, I spent the last four years interviewing
people for all different types of positions - from entry level manufacturing to management
and professionals. I have met some candidates that interviewed very well, and there were
others that I could not wait to get out of my office. Here are a few interview tips on
what NOT to do when applying or interviewing for any position. I was going to number these
and put them in order, but they are really ALL number 1!
• Do not smoke at the site where you apply or interview. Smoking or
chewing tobacco makes a bad first impression - wait until you are in the car leaving
before using any tobacco products. Even if the interviewer is smoking (such as at a
construction site), wait until you leave. Many businesses do not allow tobacco use of any
kind on the premises.
If they do allow smoking, anytime during the application or interview process is the
wrong time for several reasons: you will smell like smoke, your breath will stink, you
will make their office or lobby stink. Employers also do not want to see your cigarette
butts in their parking lot. If you walk outside to smoke while waiting for your interview,
it leaves the impression that you will take too many unauthorized breaks if they hired you.
• Do not bring anyone with you, especially children. I don't know how
many times I have interviewed someone that had a child with them - I even had one
applicant start breast-feeding in the middle of the interview! I have also had applicants
tell me that they were in a hurry because they left their child in the car - I refused to
interview them until they found someone to watch their child. It is totally inappropriate
to bring a child into a business - especially an office or manufacturing plant. Even if
you are applying at a daycare facility, leave your child at home for the interview.
It is equally inappropriate to have your spouse, family member or friend tag along.
Even if that person works at the place that you are applying, you should go to your
interview alone. The one exception to that rule - if the employer called both of you in,
or if the employer is hiring for multiple positions and you are both applying. In that
case, you need to make sure that the employer knows that you both have your own
transportation to and from work.
• Do not use your cell phone to talk, text, or email. Write down any
phone numbers you may need prior to going inside, then turn your phone OFF - not silent or
vibrate - OFF. It is distracting to you and the interviewer when your phone vibrates or
lights up. The interviewer will wonder if you are planning to be on your cell phone all
day, or texting while he/she is paying you to work.
• Do not be rude! Do not be rude to the security guard, receptionist,
interviewer, or any other employee or applicant that you encounter on the premises.
Interviewers often ask the receptionist for their opinion before making a final decision.
• Do not be in a hurry. Plan to be there for at least 2 hours. It may
only take you 10 minutes for the interview, but the average time is about 30 minutes. You
may have to wait, so don't get too antsy. Some employers will hire a good candidate right
on the spot. That may mean taking a test, drug screen, or physical on the same day. In
some industries, the employer might ask you to start work immediately.