What not to do at interview stage!


March 2017

Sweaty palms, nervous jitters and uncomfortable laughter – job interviews have the propensity to bring out the best and worst in candidates. Whilst some thrive on the adrenaline-fuelled environment, others buckle and fall in on themselves.

It’s all about striking a balance - as a recruiter we ensure that we warn nervous candidates of what to expect, to save them the horror of finding out for themselves. And there are certain attributes and instances that puts an interviewer out of step from the off, Somerset Live reported.

Their survey queried many business people, from the area, in order to ascertain what a candidate should not be doing during their interview. Find the ten examples below.

1. Bad mouth former employers

A peeve of recruiters, Andrew Wainwright, Business Director at Hays Liverpool, told the Liverpool Echo that badmouthing old bosses was one of the worst things applicants can do.

“No one wants to employ someone who’s negative straight off the bat,” he said.

2. Not asking questions

Candidates who ask questions during the interview process look as if they are genuinely interested in the role on offer – rather than thinking about running for the exit. 

3. Not conducting private research into the firm

CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, recently told Business Insider that any candidate who does not conduct research into the firm will probably not be getting a job. She said that she likes to ask applicants what they would improve about one of their products – and if they haven’t properly researched the company it shows during the interview.

4. Leaving their phone on

An obvious and totally avoidable mistake. No interviewer wants to be stopped mid-flow by a WhatsApp alert.

5. Yawning

A good night’s sleep is integral to a successful interview. Candidates who yawn during the interview look either like they cannot be bothered to be there or that they didn’t get enough rest the night before. 

6. Chewing gum

Disrespectful and rude. A report by The Daily Mail looked into the worst things recruiters had experienced in interviews – one of which included having a candidate’s chewing gum stuck to his palm when he went for a handshake.

7. Being hungover

A report from Nominet, which runs the '.uk' domain, revealed that students are ditching the nightclubs for networking, spending on average four hours a week on activities to boost their employability, equivalent to 208 hours a year.

8. Not dressing up

It’s important for candidates to dress appropriately for the interview at hand. That’s not to say that each role requires them to don a top hat and tails – but they should look presentable and clean. Last year, Amanda Maria Dobson, Recruitment Director at recruitment consultancy Lee & Grace Associates, shocked the industry after she revealed that one of her candidates was refused a job because of their tattoos. 

9. Being late

It’s crucial for candidates to turn up on time to the interview – however, certain scenarios cannot be helped. James Murphy, Vice President of Inside Sales at Nextiva, recently took to LinkedIn to vent his frustrations over an interviewee. He wrote: “Had an interviewee show up 30 minutes late for an interview today.

“He did not attempt to contact us, to say he would be late, and when I asked why he was late he lied about his scheduled time. I asked to see the confirmation email he received and it clearly stated the interview time. I do not have time or patience for poor character, so I simply thanked him for his time and told him we were not interested.”

The debate divided the internet, with some recruiters agreeing with his methods and others claiming he was too harsh.

10. Limp handshakes

Wainwright told the Liverpool Echo that a handshake can make or break an interview. He said: “Don’t go for the ‘bonecrusher’ handshake. There’s a distinct difference between a firm, confident handshake and WWE move.”


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