Whether it’s your first interview or just another one of many, there’s always a chance that you’ll mess up. Even the most seasoned, professional interviewees have experienced a bad interview where they’ve left with their tail between their legs. Employers are wise to the fact that interviewees experience immense pressure whilst under their scrutiny and understand that stress can cause them to crumble. There are however, some things which can instantly put off an employer and ruin your chances of getting hired, regardless of what your CV has to offer.


Bad Habits

Everyone has certain habits, which is perfectly normal but you should try to refrain from demonstrating them during a job interview. Whilst biting your nails due to nervousness won’t decrease your employability, picking your nose or other body parts really isn’t recommended. Not only is it crude, it’s also very unprofessional – which doesn’t bode well in a job interview.

You may not notice you have these bad habits, so try a practice interview with a friend or family member who can identify any bad habits for you to eliminate.

Whining and Gossiping

Avoid bad mouthing and complaining about previous employers, even if it was the reason you left your job. Pushing the blame doesn’t make you look good, rather it creates the image that you’re a troublesome employee who’s high maintenance. What’s more, if the two companies are in the same industry there’s always a chance that your interviewer knows your previous employer, in this case bad mouthing could really backfire.

Think of an alternative reason to provide your interviewer with when questioned about previous jobs. Simply saying the industry wasn’t for you could come across a lot better than revealing previous gripes you’ve had with bosses.

Getting Names Wrong

Getting your interviewer’s name wrong can cause offence and certainly won’t win you any brownie points. Although a commonly recommended interview technique is to use personal address, if you’re unsure of how to pronounce their name or don’t feel comfortable with personal address (it’s often something which comes with confidence) then it’s best to leave it out. Avoid piling additional pressure onto yourself, just concentrate on remaining calm and in control and the confidence will come naturally.

Arriving Late

Nothing gives off a worst impression than showing up to a job interview late – it shows lack of responsibility and little motivation. Is that extra 10 minute lie-in really worth missing out on a job opportunity? Aim to arrive at least fifteen minutes early and give yourself extra time if you’re unsure of the exact location.

In some instances, unforeseen circumstances can cause you to be late for an interview or unable to attend and employers do understand this can happen. What really irritates them is if you haven’t informed them of your situation so they can either reschedule you in for another time or proceed with other work whilst they wait for you. There’s nothing more disrespectable than leaving the interviewers waiting for you, their frustration will build and they may refuse to see you. If there’s been an accident on the motorway or a family member falls sick, ring up and apologise, explain the situation and reschedule the interview. Always make sure you tell them you’re still interested in the position and that you regret the situation has arisen at an unfortunate time.


Whilst confidence is a positive quality which can help you to come across well in a job interview cockiness is not. Arrogance can really deter a potential employer from hiring you as you’ll appear difficult to manage and unlikely to follow instruction. Make sure you’re eager and attentive during your interview and demonstrate that you’re listening by making eye contact with them. Avoid slumping in your chair and chewing gum – they have “cockiness” written all over them.

Avoid flirting with potential colleagues, using foul language or expressing controversial views – both inside and outside of the interview room. There’s plenty of time for those things once you’ve been hired…

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