12 Things to avoid in an interview


12-tipsSo, finally you get a call. You buy a new formal outfit; you carry your documents with the right attitude. But wait! Did it ever occur to you what to AVOID and what NOT to do in an interview?

Interviews without a doubt can be a nerve wrecking experience. Sometimes even the smallest of actions or a taboo word can limit the possibilities of you being ‘the chosen one’ for the position you applied for.

After all, you must not risk attempting a poor performance interview in this tough and vulnerable job market. Let’s focus on some damage causing actions, behavior and attitude that you must avoid in an interview –

1. Excuses are tacky
You know you didn’t make it on time, and you support your argument with a number of excuses, unreasonable statements or cliched lines. You need to highly avoid these tacky excuses because it will make your position weak and lousy to even continue the session further.  

2. Don’t arrive too early
It is the opposite of reaching late. Reaching 30 minutes before the scheduled time is the reflection of your anxiety streak. You certainly don’t want to be the desperate one amongst other job seekers on the list. Hold on to your anxiety there, and try to show up 5 to 10 minutes before the expected time.

3. Appearing clueless about the company
It has happened with many of us. You go unprepared in front of the panel and regret not being competent enough to make your point of view clear about the company’s mission and vision. Strictly digest this fact in your system – be well rehearsed about the company before hand to avoid the embarrassment.

4. Think before what you wear
You don’t want to make a show out there – so dress up under the guidelines of appropriate dress code. Be aware of  wardrobe malfunction or inappropriate dress up. Always remember, appearance makes the first impression. You definitely don’t want to be remembered as an eccentric candidate after you leave the interview room.

5. Weary eyes & low pitch
Be aware of your verbal and non-verbal body language signals that you portray – knowingly or unknowingly. You must watch out your gestures along with bad posture that you may end up finding yourself in an awkward situation.

 6. Stop badmouthing
Believe it or not but anything negative coming out of your mouth will make you look like an outlaw. Stay positive; nobody expects you to speak negative about your past opportunities. Just be honest yet appreciative about what you’ve learnt from your past.

7. Just don’t lie
In order to explain your skills, achievements and competencies you need to take support of examples and facts to make your candidature look confident and strong. This goes without saying that honesty is the best policy to achieve anything in life. Falsifying your statements with a wrong picture will get you in trouble on ethical terms. Just don’t do it!

8. ‘Umm.., Hmm.. & I don’t know’ are some forbidden words
One always fails to understand the formal pitch in an interview. How will you convince the other person if you don’t communicate with absolute clarity? Ambiguity in communicating yourself is NOT the right way to sell your profile. Hence, avoid all the words which can make you look nothing but a confused soul.

9. Don’t rush yourself, be a good listener
First sign of a competent person is to be a great listener. You need to listen first to make your point worthy enough. Consider it just an interview not a monologue. Enter the room with openness and curiosity. Take the communication with ease and most importantly, always listen first.

10. Don’t over exaggerate
We all know there’s a thin line between bragging and simply putting across the information. Self-aggrandizing banter would question your trustworthiness as a candidate. Let your resume speak for you, in case the matter is less exemplary, let it out with a less exaggerated tone.

11. What did you say my salary is?
Asking salary in the most initial stage shows the desperation. Avoid this question as much as possible, no matter how desperate you may be for the position. Let the organization initiate the salary talk. Waiting for the salary talk can be worth it to make you stand with full dignity.

12. Don’t wait, plan a follow up
There isn’t any rule book stating that only the hiring company is supposed to get back once the interview is done. Try to reconnect with the hiring team yourself post interview. In fact, it leaves a good impression on the other side if the follow up initiation is done

It is a fact that communication and thoughtful preparation is the prerequisite of a successful interview. Your people’s skills and etiquette’s can make a huge difference. So, before you gather a knack to crack your next interview, remember these tips and avoid them at every possible step of your interview journey.

So, share some personal experiences with us that you’ve had during your interview encounters before. Stumped interviews can teach us a lot about dos and don’ts of interviews for future.

You may also like to read –
1. Power of using the ‘We’ word
2. Questions : What not to ask an interviewer
3. 10 Golden rules of negotiating salary


Rahul Malhotra
Rahul is the Co-Founder and CEO at HeadHonchos.
He has close to 14 years of experience across the executive search, recruitment, retail and internet verticals. One of the first to come on board, he holds an MBA degree from IMI, Belgium and a Diploma in Information Technology from Swinburne, Australia

8 thoughts on “12 Things to avoid in an interview

  1. Very helpful ?but sorry to say ?that during interview? the planed proposed tips for attending the interview r lost? till the end of the interview ? thanksgiving u for ur easy and comprehensive tip for making the interview successful ?

  2. Sir,
    I have read your above article and to say the points did mention the do’s and don’ts. Very clear and apt for many individuals. Good learning take away for me as well.



  3. I have conducted interviews, one thing that is a complete turn-off is a limp or sweaty palm handshake or a handshake that practically breaks my hand. Advise that you practice your handshakes and make sure that they don’t have too strong of a grip and not too dainty.

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