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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.

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