By Bayside Group

Jul 25, 2019

Five things you should never do in an interview

Whether you’re a seasoned employee or new to the workforce, job interviews are a nerve-wracking experience. Stressing about your ‘elevator’ pitch, what skills-based questions to practice or what sort of clothes to wear is to be expected, as these will all determine whether you are hired or not.

While all jobs require specific knowledge and competencies, there are a few things which any eager candidate should never do during an interview – no matter which position you’re going for.


Don’t check or answer your phone

While it might be second nature to check your phone for texts or notifications, you should never do this in an interview. Checking your phone will give the interviewer the impression that you are completely disinterested in the conversation and probably aren’t serious about the role.

Before you enter the interview, make sure your phone is turned off. This will ensure you’re not tempted to check it throughout the interview and means you won’t receive phone calls, which can be distracting and make you seem disorganised.


Don’t make politically charged comments

Even if you are getting along well with the interviewer, making politically charged comments, or even advertising your political preference, can be a risk.  Even if you believe the hiring manager to have the same political views as you, going down this path will take the focus off the goal of the interview: to get you the job.

While this may seem obvious, government policies and actions affect so many industries and workplaces that it can, and in our experience often does, come up.

It’s fine to be passionate about politics, but even if your interviewer seems relaxed and open to discussing it, you can never know where they truly stand with regards to their political views. This leaves you open to possible prejudices, or may give rise to concerns about how you will integrate into the office environment if you have views that conflict with other employees.

The bottom line is, that while it’s fine to be passionate about politics it’s a bad decision to bring this fervour into the interview process and workplace.

When you’re interviewing, focus on winning over the hiring manager based on your skills, experience, academic achievements and personality - all of which are relevant to the job. 

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Don’t speak ill of your former employer

You may not have had a great relationship with your last boss, or you maybe you had a bad experience working with a previous employer. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Plenty of us have had uneasy workplace relationships or worked in jobs that just weren’t the right fit. Despite this, you should try to avoid saying negative things about your previous manager in front of a prospective one.

While it may not be your intention, providing detail about the negative elements of your prior workplace may make you appear resentful or unprofessional.

Furthermore, if you’re interviewing for a position in a smaller industry, there’s every chance that the interviewer may know your former manager or employees within that workplace.


Don’t get angry with the interviewer

While your interviewer should be professional, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. But whether they’re asking difficult questions that you can’t be expected to answer, or being rude or obnoxious, you should always maintain professionalism and try to keep your cool.

Getting into a shouting match isn’t going to be to anyone’s benefit, least of all your own. If the interviewer’s behaviour causes you serious discomfort, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from the interview. It is also acceptable to report them after the interview – most companies have formal complaint or feedback processes. Finally, don’t see the interview as a waste of time, as you’ll now know that workplace isn’t one you want to be employed in!


Don’t go in completely blind

When going for any job interview, it pays to do your research about the company and the role beforehand. Even if the organisation is one with which you think you’re familiar, dedicate some time to making sure your knowledge is up to date. Walking into an interview with no idea what the company does will make you look unprepared and disorganised.

And while an interviewer won’t expect you to know exactly what the position involves, make sure you have a good understanding of the job description and how your skills and experience are well suited to the requirements.

Remember, asking the interviewer questions is an important part of an interview, but asking unconsidered questions about what the company does or the basic foundations of the role could make you look unqualified. Do your research – it will calm your nerves and position you as a strong candidate.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to perform your best in a job interview, check out our Ultimate Interview Guide, which is filled with useful strategies and techniques to help you nail your next interview.

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