What NOT to do in interviews

Dear Dr Jobs

Having been out of work for a while I’ve finally landed an interview for a company that I’d really like to work for. I’ve not had an interview in years but I’ve done a lot of research on the company and I feel I’m fully prepared for any questions the interviewer might throw at me. The office dresses in casual clothes and they don’t wear suits unless they are going out to client meetings so I was thinking about going along in my jeans and a smart T-Shirt. What do you think Dr Jobs, would this be ok?

Declan, Manchester

Dear Declan

In short, NO! Wearing a suit shows the interviewer that you mean business and that you respect them. If you turn up in your casuals I can guarantee that you won’t get the job. Coming dressed down is one sure fire way of royally messing up an interview!

Working in the recruitment industry for many years I’ve come across many people who have royally messed up in interviews. For example, a few years ago I was interviewing a candidate and half way through the interview he burped, loudly. It was one of those tumbleweed moments, dog barking in the distance. Suffice is to say that is DEFINITELY something that you shouldn’t do during an interview.

Similarly, a colleague of mine had a candidate tell his client that he loved cats, had nearly twenty of them and thought of them as his children. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to love cats, but there are definitely things you should and shouldn’t say during interviews and this was one of the latter. Then there’s the guy who was asked in an interview how his friends would describe him in one word. His answer? Womaniser. In an office that consisted of approximately 40% women that really wouldn’t have gone down well.

A lot of the dos and don’ts of interview etiquette are fairly obvious. That said, many people, such as yourself, might not have attended an interview in quite some time. With that in mind I’ve put together a list of the top 5 DON’T s to help get you through that interview and get you that job!

Don’t be late!

It looks especially bad in an interview if you arrive ten minutes late. Make sure you’re early.

Don't be late like the White Rabbit!

If you know it takes 30 minutes to get from your house to the interview leave an hour before to allow for any hold ups!

Don’t forget about your appearance!

Remember to shave in the morning and wear a tie. Come suitably dressed, business suits for both men and women and make sure your shoes aren’t scruffy. Similarly, don’t go along to the interview smelling of alcohol or, even worse, body odour! This could be extremely off putting for the interviewer who might think you have personal hygiene issues!

Don’t wing it!

Preparation is the key. Remember to research the company fully and come armed with your CV or portfolio.

Follow the boy scouts moto!

Before the interview, compile a list of about 10 to 15 questions to ask the interviewer. Some of these will be covered as part of the natural flow of the interview but that should leave at least five questions to ask at the end.

Don’t waffle!

When asked a question, answer it. Don’t go off on tangents and forget to answer the original question.

Get it?

Interviewers want to see your ability to think of your feet and as such you should answer questions both concisely and succinctly.

Don’t slouch

Remember that body language plays an important part in any interview.


You should make sure your body language is open. Don’t fold your arms across your chest, keep you hands in your lap and try not to gesticulate loads.

Sit up straight!

Shake the interviewers hand firmly and don’t avoid eye contact or you’ll look shifty.

And whatever you do, don’t burp in your interview. This will always turn out badly.

Good luck in your interview.

Dr Jobs

Jobs.co.uk is an online job board hosting third party vacancies.

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