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10 things to avoid at your job interview

By Kshipra Singh
May 02, 2008 11:16 IST
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If you have received an interview call, it means your CV has done what it was supposed to. The next step for you is to convert the job interview into a job. Your CV can't do much here. It is you who has to convince the interviewer that you are the best choice.

However good your CV is, if you can't present yourself properly during the interview, it can't get you the job. There are many small mistakes that candidates commit, costing them the opportunity and the job. This article is an attempt to put forward the small mistakes that can prove to be the death of the interview.

If you really want the job for which you are being interviewed, make sure you do not commit these mistakes and instead leave a good impression on the interviewer.

~ Arriving late and ignoring explicit instructions
This is the first mistake that can give a negative impression. As you go for an interview, the interviewer spares some time to meet you. Your arriving late will probably disturb their work schedule.

Try to reach on time and if you are getting late for any reason, make sure that you inform the interviewer. Also, make sure that you follow all the instructions provided to you to appear for the interview. Ignoring the explicit instructions shows your "I don't care" attitude.

Anjali went to appear for an interview. She reached the employer's office on time but ignored the instructions to enter from gate no 2 rather than the first gate. This made her waste a lot of time searching for the interview hall.

Eventually, she turned up late for the interview. As interviewers got to know this, the first impression they got about Anjali was that she does not care for instructions. She lost the interview before it could begin.

~ Don't be a job beggar
Approach the interview as a problem solver and not as a job beggar. It is not the beggars who are hired; it is the people who have a capability to solve the employer's problems, who are hired. The employer has a problem to which you have a solution, so it is a give and take relationship. Employers respect people who respect themselves.

~ Going without preparation
Prepare yourself for the obvious questions. Not being able to reply to the general questions properly gives a bad impression. Make it a point to research the company and its business before you go for an interview.

Not having the basic knowledge about the company shows that you are not interested in the job. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can commit as an interviewee. Akash replied to a notification requiring Corporate Communication Managers and with his impressive CV, he managed to secure an interview call.

As the interview proceeded, the interviewer asked him if he was aware of the company's business, to which he replied in the negative. The interviewer immediately told him, he could have taken a look at the company's website and collected some information before coming. An embarrassing situation that could easily have been avoided.

~ Not analysing the job profile and requirements
This is another big mistake that many candidates commit. If you do not take the time to understand the job profile and requirements properly, you cannot expect the questions the interviewer might have. Moreover, you will not be able to dispel the interviewer of the doubts s/he may have regarding your candidature on that profile.

~ Badmouthing your previous company
During an interview, do not criticize your last employer. The prospective employer will try to relate himself to your last employer and your badmouthing can give them the impression that you are a misfit. Most employers try to judge your attitude through this question. Speaking negatively about your place of work might give them the feeling that you are not an easy person to get along with.

~ Telling lies about your candidature
Remember that you have a right to remain silent over the things that you don't want to disclose. It is not necessary that you provide them the details of every inch of your career but make sure that you do not tell lies about your candidature. These lies may get you hired but they can be a big reason for you being fired as well.

~ Sounding money-minded
Employers do not like people who switch jobs for couple of thousand rupees. Although money is a major attraction, do not talk about the salary and benefits before you are offered the job. let the interviewer begin the discussion on the salary.

~ Not asking questions to the interviewer
Almost all interviewers give the candidate a chance to ask questions. This is something you can always expect. Prepare yourself to ask some intelligent questions about the company, business, your chances to grow in the organisation etc. By not asking questions you might give the impression of being uninterested or indifferent.

~ Failing to send a thank you note
Do not fail to send a thank you note to the interviewers within 24 hours of your interview. This will keep you fresh in their minds and give them another chance to let you know if they have any concerns regarding your candidature.

~ Over-aggression
You have all the right to speak for yourself during the interview and sell your skills but do not go overboard by interrupting the interview or arguing with him/her. This might give the interviewer the impression of over-confidence instead of confidence.

These are some of the more unusual things that might skip your attention as you appear for an interview. In addition to these pointers, there are other general things you should avoid such as not grooming yourself properly, chewing gum or smoking just before or during the interview, answering your cell phone during the interview etc.

So, take a fresh look at your approach and practice the things listed above to ensure that you leave a good impression on the interviewer and give them a reason to hire you.

Kshipra Singh is a contributor to, a website that addresses technical and personal aspects of an IT interview. CareerRide also provides sample CVs and answers to questions asked in a personal and technical interview.

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Kshipra Singh