9 Things to Avoid During an Interview

Whether you are trying to enter a university or getting your first part-time job, you will eventually have to face an interview someday. And there are a lot of ways you can mess up your first few interviews which could lead to your application getting denied. And while it is not good to worry about the things that are yet to happen, it may be a good idea to start studying what and what not to do for your first upcoming interview.

Why interviews are important

Interviews are a staple when you are trying to land a job. It lets your employers know you better – your character, traits, strengths weaknesses, and other factors that may concern them with regards to the job you are applying for. And while not all interviews happen when you are trying to apply for a company, this article will focus mostly on that scenario as that environment will be new and unfamiliar to you.

By getting to know their applicant’s character, employers can have a general sense of whether an applicant is suited for the job and to what extent they fit the bill. An interview also gives the applicants a chance to make a great first impression and allows them to showcase their skills (although only those skills written in your resume will be given light) even before you get to work for their company or establishment. Applicants can also gain a firm understanding of the responsibilities and duties of the position they are applying for.

Things to avoid in an interview

There is a myriad of ways you can get an interview right and there are just as many lists out there stating how you can make a good first impression and ace an interview. However, the end result of your interview lies solely on your interviewer and their ideas of a proper interview may be subjective. As a result, we have come up with 9 ways you should avoid doing during an interview.

Society dictates what is rude and what is considered as acceptable, this can often result to an almost uniform sense amongst everyone of what things should not be done during an interview. This is why it is better to educate you on the things you should avoid doing rather than what you should be doing.

1. Not dressing inappropriately

It almost seems like common knowledge but you will be surprised at how many people get this wrong. Dressing appropriately doesn’t necessarily mean to show up in a tuxedo or office wear. Instead, you can try to show up in appropriate, formal, and neat attire to help make a good impression.

Neat clothes are a must to have as you instantly look more professional in an ironed and well seamed shirt than in a crumply and unbuttoned shirt. First impressions matter as it allows you interviewers to gauge you a little even before you open your mouth to say anything. And one way to mess this up is dressing like you just woke up 30 minutes before the interview and forgot to iron your clothes.

2. Not doing your homework

Companies tend to hire individuals who already have a general sense of the company’s goal and methods. By doing so, they save time explaining to their new employees their company’s goals. And one way to be aware of a company’s background is to do research before the interview.

Not doing your homework means that you did not look into the background and details of the company you are applying for and shows you are not fully interested in the company itself and only want to be hired. Yes, a lot of people are like this, so you must try to stray from the crowd and get to know the company you are applying for better. Plus, if you didn’t do research beforehand, you would have trouble when asked, “How can your skills help the company?”, as you would have no way to relate your skills to a company totally unfamiliar to you.

3. Talking about money

Yes, another big no for an interviewee. Talking about money means excessively trying to pry for your potential pay and when you will gain a raise or any other question with regards to pay. This is just considered rude and makes you seem like you are only in it for the cash. Instead wait for the interviewer to mention your potential pay if you were chosen to be hired.

This does not mean that you should be completely unaware of the pay and payment method, but any other questions with regards to money other than that can make your interviewer irritated or offended. If you want to know the rate, try researching the company beforehand. Some employees post answers to questions about a company in forums. If you must know the salary, ask your employer in a manner that doesn’t come off as rude.

4. Ignoring other staff members

You might have read somewhere that it is a good idea to shake the hands of your interviewer before the start of an interview, but one thing you should not forget is to also include other staff members in your greetings. After all, they are still part of the company you are applying for and are potential work mates. Also it is just considered rude to forget about other staff members just because they are not the ones asking questions.

5. Not asking any questions

This may seem contradictory to the 3rd tip in this list, but hear this one out. Asking questions can be a way for interviewers to determine if a person is proactive or not.

Most interviewees tend to wait for the last few minutes of the interview or when the interviewer asks if they have any questions before raising any questions themselves. Instead, try to ask questions whenever your interviewer discusses something that you need clarifications on (of course after he has finished talking to avoid being rude). This limits the chances of you forgetting the question, shows that you are eager to learn everything you can, and implies that you are not afraid to ask questions to help you understand things better.

If you can’t think of questions at the moment, say as much to your potential employer. “I don’t have questions at the moment, but I might later.” This will help asking questions later easier for you.

6. Overexaggerating

Another thing you should avoid in an interview is overexaggerating your skills and achievements. The only person who loses here is you as you will most likely be placed a burden which is on par with your overexaggerated skills which you cannot handle. The company can always place that burden to other more competent employees, but you cannot regain the broken trust from your employer.

Overexaggerating your skills and achievements can also backfire to you when the employer calls the numbers you wrote for reference to make sure that you are telling the truth. This not only places a big dent on your reputation but can also make you less likely to be hired. Just try to be as honest as you can about your skills.

7. Being late

Nobody wants to be kept waiting, especially not interviewers. If you cannot show up on the designated time due to an unexpected happening, then try to call the interviewer beforehand and hope that they are compassionate enough to reschedule your interview.

Being late is the loss for the interviewee alone as more often than not, there are other interviewees waiting for their turn to be interviewed and the interviewer can always move on to the next if one is not present. Being late will also give your employers the idea that you are not a punctual person and will lessen the chances of you getting that job.

8. Being easily offended

If an interviewer asks a question that can be interpreted in other ways, try to stay calm and ask what he/she means and not burst into outrage. Being easily offended can show that you are not adept to work in a large company with different employees that each has different personalities. This also places a huge deduction to the chances that you will get hired.

Oftentimes, interviewers do not actually mean to offend you with a question and have a different goal in mind when asking that question. So try to ask them first to clarify things and not make you look like a hot-headed fool. However, if the question was clearly meant to insult you, then you might want to rethink your application for that company as an unhealthy work environment is never a pleasant place to work on.

9. Forgetting to relax

Another mistake first time applicants do on their interviews is forgetting to relax. They tend to stiffen up their muscles, make unnecessary movements, and cannot use their brains effectively. This can make you have a hard time answering the interviewer’s questions and suggest that you have trouble dealing with high stress situations.

Try to relax and stay calm during your interview by breathing slow and deep breathes. This allows more oxygen to circulate your muscles and brain to promote better brain function and less tense muscles. And better brain function leads to a better ability to answer the interviewer’s questions properly.

And as a bonus tip, if you want to make your resume super enticing for the interviewer due to your high marks and achievements, then study as hard as you can to make your resume more attractive.

One of the ways you can do better at school is by hiring a tutor to help you in your studies. And we have just the place for you. FamilyTutor is a home tuition agency with thousands of highly skilled home tutors to help you on your studies. We handle students from pre-school up to university level and have a wide variety of subjects to choose from. All it takes is a few clicks of your cursor and you are set to be taught by a tutor from Singapore’s best tutoring agency.   



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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