Interview fails that actually cost someone the job

If you're job hunting, it's likely you've researched job interview tips pretty extensively. You've probably focused on the most common interview questions and how to answer them, along with preparing questions you should ask your interviewers. But on a less obvious note, you may be doing something so tiny (to you) that is causing a hiring manager to immediately remove you from the running.

Here are some of the biggest interview fails we've personally seen that actually cost someone the job.

Drinking during an interview

Talk about a no-no! Sometimes your interview will be held off work grounds at a nearby restaurant or bar. This may feel like a less formal interview setting, but it should not be treated as such. Lunch and dinner interviews with hiring managers are especially important in sales roles, because they want to see how you might behave with clients and prospects. Even if the hiring manager orders a drink, you shouldn't.

Order something small, easy and clean to eat. Skip the spaghetti, crab legs and the whiskey.

Never showing up

It may seem like a no-brainer, but we've seen dozens of candidates who truly wanted the position show up late (or not at all!) without the courtesy of a phone call. If you are going to be late or miss an interview for any reason, call. Even if you change your mind and decide you don't want the job at all, don't just be a no-show. It's unprofessional and can harm your chances of getting other jobs too; industry professionals talk.

Speaking negatively about past employers

Here's one that can be a catch 22. If you are asked why you left a previous employer, or to describe the worst boss you've ever had, you do need to give an answer. Be honest, but don't bash past employers / coworkers because it only looks bad on you. Keep your answers very brief and don't call out specific names or companies.

Download our complete Job Interview Prep Kit for a guided workbook on these questions and more to help you in preparing for a job interview.

Forgetting to brush your teeth

If you brush your teeth in the morning and then have a 3 p.m. interview, you need to refresh. There is nothing worse than wafting bad breath toward someone for an hour straight; it is all the hiring manager will remember. If you simply can't get to a toothbrush before your interview, pack a few mints or gum to freshen up. Just make sure to ditch the gum (in the proper receptacles) before your interview begins. Gum chewing during an interview is a fail all its own.

Wearing too much cologne

The scent leaves an overwhelming impression long after you leave, and it's not a good one. While smelling clean is always the goal, too much cologn or perfume has the opposite affect. Plus, you never know who has allergies or sensitivities to fragrances. A hiring manager is not going to add you to their team if you make them sneeze! 

Wearing white socks with your black suit

It seems so minor, but this has actually happened to one of our candidates! While you don't need to be decked out in the season's hottest fashion trends, you need to have basic coordination skills. Match your socks to your suit and dress professionally.

Not knowing the hiring manager's name or job title

These are basic bits of information that you need to know before an interview. Not having this information shows a lack of preparation, disinterest in the job and overall laziness. 

Preparing for an interview can make or break your chances of getting hired. Even if you are a very qualified candidate, the employer will be less likely to hire you if you make these simple mistakes. Don't end up on our Biggest Interview Fails of 2018 list! 

Download our Job Interview Prep Kit for detailed tips on preparing for a job interview.

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