What NOT to Do in an Interview, According to a Recruiter

Kelsey Clark

Job interviewers often bear witness to some of the most egregious, cringe-inducing faux pas known to humankind. Between the awkwardness of talking about yourself and the added pressure of being evaluated and scrutinized, it’s safe to assume that company conference rooms have served as the backdrop for countless embarrassing stories for years. Fortunately, these stories can serve a purpose beyond future entertainment value: They can warn others what NOT to do in a job interview.

Former recruiter and freelance writer Suzanne Zuppello has set out to do just that, revealing the top job interview mistakes in a recent piece for Refinery29. In Zuppello’s own words, these top interview mistakes that will cost you the job:

Don't say the F-word—even if the interviewer does

“Now, it’s worth noting I am a fairly casual interviewer. I’ve never worked for a stuffy corporate company, so I like my interviewing style to mimic the culture of the company,” explains Zuppello. “I also want the person I’m chatting with to be at ease. My language is friendly and engaging. On occasion, I’ll even drop a ‘Damn, that’s rad,’ if something really impresses me. Yet I still believe it’s never okay to say ‘f*ck’ in an interview. The word tells someone you lack a filter or are generally unaware of your surroundings.”

Send an email if you anticipate being late

“It does a disservice to everyone if you let the hiring manager know you’ll be late five minutes past the interview time. There’s even cell reception on public transit now, so not being able to let the interviewer know you’re running behind is not excusable,” says Zuppello. “Once, a candidate arrived two hours after an interview was meant to take place, apologizing for being tardy. After 15 minutes, most interviewers assume you’re a no-show. After two hours, we assume you shouldn’t be hired.”

Don't asume your emailed résumé is enough

“[Your] résumé is why you were asked to come in. And yet it’s still important to bring in a copy. … Interviewers see hundreds of résumés a day. We need them in front of us to kick-start our memory,” explains Zuppello. “But bringing a copy of your résumé isn’t enough. You need to bring the right one. In an interview with a prospective manager, the candidate had to tell me half her experience because the résumé she brought stopped two years ago — which did not mirror the one that was emailed. Not bringing the right résumé tells me you’re disorganized, which is not a quality you want to lead with in an interview.”

Check out the full list of interview mistakes over at Refinery29, and prepare for your next interview with a copy of Career Code.

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