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Ten Fatal Interviewing Mistakes

by: Angela Roberts

In most situations, the face-to-face interview is the "make or break" point of the hiring process; it is here that hiring managers evaluate the characteristic of the individual that cannot be expressed on paper or through email. The last thing you want to do is negate all of the time and effort you’ve put into perfecting your resume and writing an impressive cover letter by acting in inappropriate ways. Here are some common mistakes that will immediately eliminate you from the candidate pool:

1. Inappropriate attire. 57% of hiring managers say they have encountered, and eliminated, candidates who are dressed inappropriately for the interview.* Trade in your rainbow colored halter top, bedazzled Levis, gaudy jewelry, and sequin flip flops for a neutral colored suit and close-toed shoes.

2. Not being groomed appropriately. Along the same lines of proper attire, please make sure you are appropriately groomed. Unless you are applying to be a fashion designer or punk rocker, conservative is better!

3. Not being prepared to answer the basic interview questions. Regardless of the industry or position, there are certain questions you should always assume interviewers will ask. Have answers prepared beforehand; the worse case scenario is that you aren’t asked those questions, so what do you have to lose? Be prepared for questions like: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? What do you bring to the table that others don’t? How does your previous experience relate to this position?

4. Not giving specific answers: 34% of hiring managers claimed that being vague in your answers is like not having an answer at all, so do your best to prepare!*

5. Not having questions for the interviewer. Not having questions of your own for the interviewer stems from not doing your research before the interview. Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you and not asking questions about the position and/or company can be misinterpreted as a lack of interest. 34% of hiring managers claim that this indiscretion will result in elimination from the candidate pool.*

6. Not able to justify your salary requirements. Every hiring manager wants to hear why you think you are worth your requested salary so be prepared to discuss it. We can help in this topic if you aren't sure where to start.

7. Not getting personal. I am not talking about asking your interviewer out for drinks afterwards ... I am addressing the topic of you being real. Be honest. Be genuine. And be sincere. Anything else is a waste of everyone's time.

8. Slips of the tongue. We are all guilty of it, but making a conscious effort to control your words makes all the difference in the world. The most common mistake is trash-talking a current or previous employer. Not only does this show a lack of integrity on your part, but also gives the impression that you are disagreeable and hard to work with.

9. Not turning your cell phone off. Big mistake. Turn it off. Off. Not on silent, not on vibrate, OFF. We know that you have texts to read and Facebook posts to respond to but it’s really not worth losing a job opportunity. And do not, under any circumstances, check your phone during the interview. That shows the interviewer that you are clearly more interested in what’s happening on your phone than what’s going on in the interview.

10. Being late. You would think I wouldn't have to address this but I still have candidates who are late to interviews. Just don't do it.

Your cover letter and resume can only win you the interview. Making the conscious effort to avoid these common interview mistakes will help you make a great, lasting impression on your interviewer.

* Statistics courtesy of

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts

About The Author

Are you ever involved with the hiring process? We are a niche clinical trial staffing firm! Sign up for our Hiring Manager email course which focuses on how to attract and hire the highest quality candidates. Contact us at

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