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Readers Respond: Worst Interview Mistakes

Responses: 131

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What's the worst mistake you can make in a job interview? Here's how to avoid the most common interview mistakes and here are the worst interview answers you can give during a job interview.

Also, read about the top interview mistakes shared by About.com site visitors and add your top interview mistakes to the list. Add an Interview Mistake

Prepare yourself

In an interview, I was asked a few questions that I had no idea how to answer. One of them was "What kind of team building activities have you done at your current job." I told them that my boss saw no point in team building activities if there wasn't a problem. I also was asked "What is your biggest weakness?" I told him that my biggest weakness was that I hated to leave a job undone and would stay as late as possible to finish it. I didn't realize that this company had a very strict "No Overtime" policy. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I have however noticed that frequently, interviewers can be as nervous as I am. I had an interviewer break the ice by asking us to give a few lines in character from our favorite movie. After I gave my lines, the interviewer did the same thing. He said it eased tension by putting everyone on a level playing field. I got that job and it was because I could relax and saw the interviewer as another person, not some god that I should fear.
—Guest SB

Thinking about a Happy Place

I was being interviewed by an extremely attractive middle aged woman. My mind wandered to a happy place, in her sensual embrace. At the end of the interview she stood up to shake my hand so I had no choice but to stand up as well. She glanced down and tried to hold back a grin. Next time I know to either tuck my member up underneath my waistband, or stay focused and stop daydreaming of afternoon delight.
—Guest jersaff

Messed Up on Weakness Question

So I'm 18 years old and had an interview at Chuckie Cheese. This was my freaking 5th interview! Anyways she asked my strengths and weaknesses. I did pretty good on strengths but for weakness I said "surviving the long days". Now I'm wondering if this small sentence hurt my chances.
—Guest tomdragon

Follow Through

I recently went on a job interview. I had to interview with four separate individuals over a two hour period. I was told that they had a few more applicants to interview & that they would be making a decision within the next two weeks. The manager also told me that they would let me know either way whether I was chosen for the position or not. Needless to say, it has been two "months" & I have never received any communication.
—Guest NCCPhT

Referral from a Relative

I had an interview with a reputed financial organization and my resume was put to the branch manager through a relative of mine. The great manager called me unexpectedly one afternoon and asked me a few questions after which he asked me what my relation was with the person who forwarded the résumé to him was. I told the truth that he was an uncle and the interview ended up pretty good. A few weeks latter I was informed that I lost the job as I had told the relation's status....in fact I was honest.
—Guest Annoyed person

View from the Other Side

I have conducted interviews where many of these interview mistakes have been made. The worst one to date was the referral of a friend's friend. She was overly comfortable because of the mutual aquaintance. She was late, with no apology. She used foul language, including the "F" word several times. Her phone rang. Not only did her phone ring, but she answered it and proceeded into a conversation with the caller. At that point I concluded the interview. She was shocked when she didn't get the job. You should always have your manners spot-on and be as professional as possible.
—Guest Manager

Studio Manager

I attended an interview recently. I thought interview went well, although the position is a bit different from what I do in my present job. I was able to explain few thinks what I do in my job, people management, and applying skills, at the end, she was all smiles. I did not know that over smiling from a HR is an indication of my being selected. I felt she had a beautiful smile, and when I got up after about 30 mins of interview, I told her that she has a beautiful smile without looking into her eyes. I guess that cost my interview. I have learned now that you should never make a comment on personal appearance with HR..oooppps.. Lost a good gone, at least the beautiful girl.
—Guest Kiki

You WILL love me!

When interviewing for a position on an army base for a child program assistant (babysitter) I was asked "why should I hire you?" (interview was with one woman..my boss.. who was late to interview and it was just me and her).. I answered...honestly without thinking because she was so relaxed.."Because you'll LOVE me!".. :( haha.. well She gave me a crazy look and I quickly said "I'm just kidding.. but seriously ..lalala... .. I got the job and am currently still employed (now its my second job as I've graduated college and have a full time position as well). However my boss that hired me left the program to move to another state about 5 months after I got there. The new boss is still there and I told her when the first boss left what I said in the interview...she wouldn't have hired me.. and I believe her! haha. Just always know the atmosphere of the person! I got VERY lucky.. because I came off like an idiot.
—Guest Federal Employee

Job Interview #2 for Hostess at IHOP

On my second interview they ask me how long I was at my previous job and I told them. When they asked me what did I do I told them. Now, when they also asked me why was I laid off, I said because of me being a food prep, I wasn't keeping up the pace and because I was too slow. I don't know if Ihop will let me pass on that.
—Guest lannett

Interviewer in Sunglasses

I recently had an interview for an unpaid position. We met in an outdoor area of a cafe. Through the whole interview the person was wearing sunglasses even though it wasn't particularly sunny outside and we were in the shade. I found myself constantly trying to find her eyes and looking at her mouth. Frankly I found the whole situation quite awkward and disrespectful. I did get the position, luckily I was redirected to deal with a specific team later... The only excuse would be if she had a condition, but then it would be polite to point that out maybe?
—Guest Savannah

Check Your Teeth

Ok I been to like a million interviews and one of the worst things was when the girl for a fitness club asked why I would like to work there I responded by saying I don't know..... urgggg I know so stupid but I was so damn nervous....another one was never eat right before an interview. I was super early so I decided to eat my glazed donut in the car, taking my time and then I noticed that I needed to go in right now. The interview went well and on the way out another employee gave me a small tour and then they showed me the restroom and told me that I might want to look in the mirror. Yah sure enough I had white glaze on my lips aweeefullll!
—Guest so embarrassed

Don't Leave a Message

I did a phone interview and the girl said she would call in two days either way. I called her after 3 days to see if I was chosen for a face to face interview. She was not in, so without knowing it, I gave the message to the girl I would be replacing and she didn't know she was being replaced. The interviewer called me and was really mad in a professional way. I apologized profusely. Why would they put either of us in such a position? I feel worse for the other girl. I don't want to work for a company that does that.
—blewitagain

Forgot to Ask for Interviewers Last Name

When I was chosen for an interview, the interviewer casually introduced herself as "Donna", calling her "mam" though out the whole interview. The interview went well, however I forgot to ask her last name and when the time came to send a thank you e-mail, I was at a loss for the last name and did not send one...maybe cost me the job..I may never know.
—Guest Robert

The Waiting Game...

Arrived nice and early, the interviewer arrived 15 minutes late and then seeing me waiting, he didn't acknowledge or greet me, instead was looking at his phone. Finally acknowledged me, and the interview lasted less than 15 minutes. I truly know how valuable time really is now.
—Guest Ahmed

Melted with My Feet to the Fire

I interviewed for this particular position about six months out of college. I was expecting specific, fairly technical questions. The day of the interview, I got lost and arrived five minutes late. I thought I might be able to come back after handling some easy opening questions. Then, my interviewers started rapid-firing behaviorals. Unprepared, I stumbled through the first two or three and totally choked when asked about a time I had failed -- the only thing I could think to reference was, of all things, another job interview, which I babbled semi-incoherently about. I tried to stay cool but I couldn't withstand another 15 minutes of grilling. By the end, I felt tired and looked defeated. This was easily the worst and hardest interview I have ever experienced, and I have my doubts about their recruiting practices (it seemed like they were looking for an MBA, not a finance guy), but it taught me to be ready for anything and ultimately helped me land my first position later on.
—Guest cm11

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