Interviews Gone Wrong: Don’t Make These Mistakes

Esteban Gomez | February 15, 2014

From an employer’s perspective, interviews are a first chance to imagine what it would be like to work with you. You have only a small window of time to put your best foot forward and knock the socks off of your interviewer’s feet in order to secure the job. Instead of telling you all of the things you could do, let these interview horror stories be a guideline for what not to do.



One candidate was running late and, in a frazzled state, arrived wearing two different shoes and prescription sunglasses instead of his regular glasses. The unintentional cool hipster look did not come off well to the interviewer and he did not get the job. Another candidate wore a tee shirt with the Nirvana logo under his see-through white dress shirt and although the interviewer appreciated the candidate’s music taste, his lack of professionalism cost him the job.

Advice: The message here is pretty clear, make a good first impression. Opt for business attire, good grooming and of course, excellent hygiene. A study uncovered that 33 percent of interviewers know within 30 seconds of meeting someone whether or not they will hire them. You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again, first impressions are everything.


What Not to Say

One candidate told the interviewer that he wasn’t anticipating staying with the organization for very long, because he had some speculation that he would inherit a hefty inheritance from his uncle who “wasn’t looking good.” Another candidate, when asked about her last job, went off on a tangent badmouthing her previous boss. She spent the majority of her interview ranting only to find that her previous boss was related to her interviewer. Needless to say, both candidates did not receive a job offer.

Advice: Some things are better kept to yourself. In the case of the Negative Nancy, even if you have strong feelings about someone, there are always ways of expressing yourself in a polite and positive manner. Maybe the candidate could have mentioned something she learned from her previous boss rather than bashing him. Always be respectful when talking about former or current employees to avoid creating negative energy and the impression that you have a bad attitude.


What Not to Do

One candidate successfully went through the interview process and had a job lined up. As he was leaving the office, he turned around, walked back in and took off his shirt to show members of the organization that he had the company’s logo tattooed to his shoulder. His loyalty may have been admired, but he lost the job offer. Another candidate was interviewing for a top-level finance potion and when asked why he had been out of work for a period of time, took his shirt off to show the interviewer scars from his boating accident to validate his work gap. The interview proceeded quickly from there on after and the candidate did not get a job offer. Aside from taking off shirts, one candidate even had the nerve to flush the toilet when talking to an interviewer during a phone interview! He did not get a call back.

Advice: For starters, keep your clothing on during an interview. Always. In an interview setting, it is important to make your interviewer feel confident that you would represent the organization in a professional manner. Instead of taking off your shirt to show scars from a boating accident, offer bringing in medical confirmation from your doctor that you were unable to work during the time you were injured.

All jokes aside, interviewing isn’t easy. According to a CareerBuilder study, 51 percent of hiring managers said that dressing inappropriately is the most common detrimental mistake candidates can make during an interview. About 49 percent said that speaking negatively about a current employer is the biggest interviewee mistake, while 48 percent said appearing disinterested will do candidates the most wrong.


To sum it all up, be on your best behavior, do your research on the company and come in ready for a professional interview. Sure you want to stand out from competition, but at the same time, you don’t want to take a risk that could be detrimental to you potentially landing the job.

About The Author

Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.


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