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Readers Respond: Worst Interview Mistakes

Responses: 85

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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

Over Prepared

I was invited to interview and told to research a particular product, circumstances etc. When I turned up to interview they did not even touch on this, which threw me off.
—Guest Nicola

What Traits Don't You Like...

I had a very successful first interview and was invited back to a 2nd interview with HR and one of the Directors. It was very soul searching and the Director asked what traits I don't like in people in the workplace. I had just answered what I liked and didn't want to use the opposites, so said that I can't stand if people are considerably late for meetings. The HR manager looked, chuckled and said, oh, so we've failed already... I then realised that the interviewers were 20 minutes late for the interview. Oooops. Really thought I screwed it up. But luckily, both then started laughing and she added, ah, well, she did say she was direct, didn't she? I did get the job but that taught me to think twice before answering!
—Guest UKgirl

My Crazy Answer

I was asked to describe myself in five words and I was so nervous that I said " kookoo" instead of " quirky".
—Guest Jenn

Quiet

Okay so I just went to an interview and all the guy did was tell me what I wrote down. He literally repeated everything I wrote, then there was a huge gap -- a silence ....silence kills an interview. I don't know what I was thinking. And to top it off, they ended "Well we might need you on the weekend if the next interview I have doesn't go better."
—Guest homeless

Too Much Hand Shaking

I had a panel interview, and I shook hands in the beginning and end of the interview; but made the mistake of shaking the hand of the interviewer that escorted me to take a translation test...big mistake, because I felt I did it too much; which made me look desperate for the position. Also, make sure you have a mint before going into meet with your interviewers.
—Guest Gitanaro

Oops.. Forgot Proper Shoes

Very excited. Just went on an amazing first date and had an interview the next day. Stayed up almost all night with the date talking forever. Oh no, not enough sleep. Rush to my house and get clothes for an interview and get ready at his place. I forget to bring shoes. I show up at the interview with a nice blouse, slacks, and flip flops O_o. The interview went great, then he wanted to bring me to walk around the shop (steel toe required) so he looks at my feet and asks me why I'm wearing sandals. I told him I had gotten ready at a friend's and stayed out closer to the job and forgot to bring shoes. *facepalm* He actually looked for shoes and even gave me a voucher to get some from the store. I returned with boots and went through the shop. Gave him back the boots and we laughed and joked about the situation. He said they would let me know by the beginning of this week, we will see what happens but I'm pretty sure I'm not getting the job.
—Guest Forgetful

Spit Out Chewing Gum Before Entering

At a recent interview, knowing that it is common knowledge not to chew gum during a job interview, I was too nervous to ask one of the workers if they had a trash can nearby, as I didn't see any bins around their store and had no tissues with me. I know this will sound gross, but I had to spit my gum into my left hand just before the interview started so I could still properly shake with my right hand. I wondered if the interviewer had noticed, but I tried not to think about it and focused on the task at hand.
—Guest Dan G.

Extreme Nervousness

When I got my first job at 18, I didn't even have an interview, but I remember my first day on the job. I had applied at a small restaurant, and in lieu of an interview, I was placed in the kitchen to see how I did. If I did all right and the restaurant needed me, I would be called back. Well, because I lacked experience, I was so nervous that I did not handle the pressure of food service very well. I remember holding back tears because I was afraid I wouldn't get the orders out on time. When a coworker asked me how I was doing, I replied, "Really, really nervous." This was not my best working moment, but at least it taught me a lesson for future interviews -- take some time to get up your confidence before you enter.
—Guest Elizabeth

This is a Joke

Most people who conduct interviews are just as much an idiot as the people spoken about on this page. The question I love is this: "So what are you on now?" I never answer that question. That question is irrelevant, the question you need to ask is what are you looking for? Never tell them what you earn, it's none of their business. I know how much I will accept a new job for and I tell them when & if this question comes up. If they don't like that then fine, don't call me as I do not want to work for that kind of organization anyway.
—Guest Laughing

Preferred Management Style

It was my first interview after college and the interviewers asked what management style I work best under. I replied just fine but ended the response with "... That's how I roll." Oh boy. Somehow I got the job and asked them a few years later at a bar did they hear that? They couldn't remember, but if they did, I wouldn't have gotten the job!
—Guest Lucky

First Interview Mistake

I applied for many jobs, and finally had my first ever interview at the age of 17. I had no idea of how interviews were structured, so when asked 'tell me about yourself' my answer was "My name is ..I live in..I have so so brothers and sisters" and so forth. It was not until the next question that I realised how stupid the answer to the first question was. Definitely was not called back.
—Guest guest tee

Just too many to name

I've seen it all. 1) "My last boss was Jewish, so he was cheap. I never got a raise." I think that was my favorite 2) People in Hialeah (a city outside of Miami with a high population of Cubans, where I live as well) don't eat waffles, so that restaurant would've never worked there. Maybe if we sold tacos or something, it would've worked out better." Yeah, I never called him back. 3) "Resume? I've never needed to bring a resume. Maybe because I've only worked in Broward County. They don't ask for resumes there." I wanted to slap her. 4) Telling me you're available to start immediately. Then, when I call the next day, you say you can't start until next week. Next week is not immediately. 5) Me: We have a job for you that starts tomorrow. Candidate: I'm actually on unemployment, so I can't work until it runs out. WTF? I could go on forever. 6 years of working at an employment agency has ruined my faith in people. Good luck with your job search, everyone!
—Guest Staffing

Never Use Ambiguous Language

Once I took an interview to take admission in MBA college. I said I did my coursework in a technical stream and I didn't find it interesting. It was my mistake. Just because of my language, they took it negatively. They said that after I got my MBA I would say the same thing, that this is not a field for me.
—Guest anjali shah

STAY CALM!!!!!!

I recently had a interview at Lowe's for a loader and stock position. I have been self employed for so long I was really nervous. I remember waiting on the human resource lady to finish with the guy before me. I worked myself up and even though I was extremely overly qualified, I bombed bad. I went in sweating bullets and found myself fumbling my words and dragging out my answers. Needless to say, I didn't get the job and it haunted me for a week. All in all, I learned a lot from my experience and found a much better job. Slow down think and remember all they can say is no.
—Guest stewie

Wore My Easter Suit

I was totally unprepared for the interview. No one told me I should not be too bright during the interview. I confidently went into the interview wearing my Easter suit. It was a gorgeous red and white wide strip skirt suit. I was only 19 at the time and just didn't know that there was a dress code. Eventually, I did not get the job and as I look back I noticed a lot of eyes on me at the time. After everyone was interviewed - the interviewer finally came out after about 1 hour or more to greet me. He shook my hand and gave me some excuse as to why he could not interview me but he did compliment me on my suit as I walked out. I then realized it was the suit. The moral, I guess is that there is a time and place for everything. Although my suit may have been nice for Easter, it was the total opposite for an interview. There is a dress code. Dark conservative colors...navy, black, brown.
—Guest Too bright for the interview

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Worst Interview Mistakes

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