Common Mistakes To Avoid During Your Next Job Interview


I think we can all agree that job hunting is a pain. First, you have to shove your unwieldy body into professional attire — even if the job is serving coffee or directing people to aisle eight at a big box store. Yep, that blazer sure will be appropriate when you refill the slushie machine. Next, you have to answer the same empty questions at every interview. I DON’T HAVE ANY WEAKNESSES, STOP ASKING! And, finally, you have to somehow convince (bribe) the interviewer that you, more than any other candidate, deserve the job.

This is why so many people want to push interview tactics on you — to minimize the suckage. Sadly, there are no absolute 100% winners. The best you can do is steer clear of major errors and hope for the best.

Here are a few moves to avoid:


Don’t Bring A Friend

Listen, pal, don’t act like your interview came with a plus one. Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C. Reilly) eventually score a job as a doubles act, but that won’t work for you unless you’re one half of an ice dancing team or a dueling magic act. Otherwise, walk the job interview mile alone. Plus, what happens if you get hired? Do you take turns sitting on each other’s lap in the cubicle? If you do, no one will eat lunch with you or invite you to happy hour.

Don’t Send A Friend In Your Place

Especially if that friend is Chuckie from Southie and he’s about to ask for a $200 retainer before deeming the interview panel suspect. Best case scenario: You don’t get the job. Worst case scenario: You get it and have to pretend you had extensive reconstructive surgery between the date of the interview and your first day.

Of course, you could probably get away with this if you’re a tough kid/genius who just wants to see about a girl.

Don’t Be Too Honest

Honesty is great. But never, ever, ever be completely honest. You don’t need to reveal that you used all of your sick days last year to nurse hangovers or that you stole two reams of printer paper to print out your screenplay. Try to preserve a little mystery — at least until you get plastered at the office party.

Don’t Over Embellish

“Oh, you were the head of the debate team at Harvard? How impressive!” said no interviewer ever (except maybe the ones who actually interviewed the heads of the debate team at Harvard*). The more outlandish your claim, the quicker the interviewer will be to google it, and, in 2016, everything is google-able.

Take a tip from this Trainspotting clip and stick to the facts. Also, don’t show up to the interview high.

*The debate team at Harvard was actually beaten by inmates from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in 2015, so you might not want to throw that embellishment around, anyway.

Don’t Refuse To Postpone

You got in a car wreck, you lit your kitchen on fire, you are dead. These all count as good reasons not to make it to an interview. Things happen. Guaranteed, no one wants to interview the bleeding, singed dude. Don’t flake, just reschedule. Recruiters love to bust out this scene from The Pursuit of Happyness as an example of using passion and attendance to score a job.

Ignore them. If everything falls apart, ask to reschedule.

Don’t Share Your ‘Special’ Skills

When an interviewer asks about any other skills you might have, it’s not a time to go nuts listing all of your unique snowflake qualities. Your wicked curve ball or uncontested position at the top of the sexual charades leaderboard aren’t interview shares; keep them for a first date moment of openness. After all, Robin Williams’ overzealous impressions leave him with one job option: disguising himself as a senior citizen with a Scottish accent to work for his ex-wife without her recognizing him. Unless your brother is a makeup artist and your ex is blind, don’t try this at home.

Don’t Over-Sell Yourself

“Sell yourself!” is another piece of common advice that only works in moderation. If you can sell like a polite employee behind the jewelry counter, go for it. If, on the other hand, you, like a perfume sampler, are going to spray yourself all over the interviewer as they bolt for the escalator, say no to this tactic. Also, if you get frustrated, don’t begin to scream “I am a qualified applicant!” repeatedly.

It didn’t work for Ben Affleck (who apparently is the go-to guy for job interview scenes).

Don’t Picture The Interviewers Naked

Ugh. This piece of advice. Everyone is told at one time or another to picture the interviewer naked to calm interview jitters. Don’t do it! What happens when you become so adept at naked-ing people in your mind that you can’t stop? The world suddenly becomes one huge, unwanted nude beach of horror.

Even worse? You, like Jeff Murdock (Richard Coyle) could end up interviewing in a room with a large mirror.