In a job interview, there are plenty of ways to prove to a hiring manager that you’re a great fit for the role — highlighting your career wins and achievements, sharing your insights about the industry, aligning yourself with the company’s values and so on. And there are also plenty of ways to prove that this isn’t the job for you.
A new survey from CareerBuilder finds that nearly half (49 percent) of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes.
In that amount of time, most job seekers and hiring managers have barely gotten through introductions and the prompt, “Tell me about yourself.” So what factors are influencing their decision? In a national survey, more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals across industries and company sizes shared what mistakes job seekers make in the interview process and the errors that turn them off to a candidate, as well as the most memorable mistakes they’ve seen.
Consider this your list of what not to do in the interview.
Mistakes everybody makes
If you didn’t get called back after the interview, you may know why you weren’t their top pick. However, most of us are left dazed and confused after the experience, not really sure what happened in there.
Unfortunately, hiring managers are more deft during the process and are judging your every move. What are they seeing? According to employers, the top most detrimental blunders candidates make in interviews are often the most common:
- Appearing disinterested – 55 percent
- Dressing inappropriately – 53 percent
- Appearing arrogant – 53 percent
- Talking negatively about current or previous employers – 50 percent
- Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – 49 percent
- Appearing uninformed about the company or role – 39 percent
- Not providing specific examples – 33 percent
- Not asking good questions – 32 percent
- Providing too much personal information – 20 percent
- Asking the hiring manager personal questions – 17 percent
Your body language is also being evaluated by hiring managers. Here are the top mistakes employers reported:
- Failure to make eye contact – 70 percent
- Failure to smile – 44 percent
- Bad posture – 35 percent
- Fidgeting too much in one’s seat – 35 percent
- Playing with something on the table – 29 percent
- Handshake that is too weak – 27 percent
- Crossing one’s arms over one’s chest – 24 percent
- Playing with one’s hair or touching one’s face – 24 percent
- Using too many hand gestures – 10 percent
- Handshake that is too strong – 5 percent
Mistakes nobody should make
Remember that every interview is a chance to improve and make a great impression. If you’ve made some of the more common mistakes, now’s the time to turn things around and act more professionally in front of potential employers.
However, if you’ve made one of following more memorable mistakes in an interview, here’s a stronger piece of advice: Never do that again.
When asked to share the most outrageous mistakes candidates made during a job interview, employers gave the following real-life examples:
- Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality
- Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
- Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
- Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
- Applicant asked for a hug
- Applicant attempted to secretly record the interview
- Applicant brought personal photo albums
- Applicant called himself his own personal hero
- Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
- Applicant crashed her car into the building
- Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits
- Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
- Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “Impress me”
- Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity
- Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her
In the end, know that hiring managers are looking for a new team member and want to find somebody that’s a good fit, and aren’t rooting for you to fail. “Employers want to see confidence and genuine interest in the position. The interview is not only an opportunity to showcase your skills, but also to demonstrate that you’re the type of person people will want to work with,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Going over common interview questions, researching the company, and practicing with a friend or family member can help you feel more prepared, give you a boost in confidence, and help calm your nerves.”