The 3 Things You Should NEVER Do During an Interview

When you go to an interview, whether its for a part time job like a restaurant, an important internship you need to get, or your first full time position, there are certain dos and don’ts.

Some of the things people do during an interview seem so obvious to an experienced hiring manager like myself, but may not seem obvious to the people doing them.

And at least two of these items might seem acceptable as social norms change—but I’m here to tell you they’re not.

In fact, these the DONTS are a great way to never get hired. So may sure you never do these 3 things during an interview:

1) Do Not Show Up Late.

Here is what the person interviewing you is going think this if you show up late:

If you can’t even show up on time for the interview, how are you ever going to show up on time for work?

Punctuality matters. At a job, things move like a machine—and just like a machine, certain parts have to be timed just right so they sync up with other parts of the organization. If you’re late, that means someone else has to stay late. Or, more probably, a third person has to stop what they were doing to cover the gap between when the previous employee left and when you show up.

Five minutes may not seem like a lot. But it’s enough to throw the whole system out of rythem.

Remember the golden rule about punctuality: Early is on time, on time is late.

2) Do Not Use Your Phone

While waiting to be interviewed and while in front of the person that is interviewing you, make sure you keep your phone on silent and put away.

While at work you are going to have to go for hours without checking your messages or otherwise using your phone. During the interview, you need to demonstrate that you can do that.

There is nothing more off putting for a hiring manager than walking up to a candidate only to find their head buried in a cell phone. That is the kind of first impression you want to avoid!

3) Do Not ‘Act Casual’

When you go to a job interview, you should never ‘act casual’ or ‘act normal’. The person that is interviewing you isn’t one of your buddies. They’re not a friend that you’re going to hang out with. They are–potentially–your next supervisor.

And they know that how you speak and act toward them during the interview is the best example of how you will speak and act toward their clients or guests and future co-workers.

You want to let them know that you know what proper behavior and communication look like.

Respect matters. It may not always be obvious but those that are better at respecting others simply get more. They get more favors, more breaks, more advantages, and more help from others. So, if you practice respect and courtesy (and follow it up with action—not just give lip service) then you’ll get all those benefits too.

On the flip side, if you go into an interview and act like you’re talking to one of your friends, you’re going to leave the wrong impression on the hiring manager.

Pro Tip: Use words like sir and ma’am. Say “yes” not “yeah”. Sit up straight and look attentive.

When you go into an interview, the hiring manager is trying to get a feel for your character, your personality, and your potential. They don’t have a lot of time to do that—for entry level positions they usually only have one meeting that might last a few minutes.

That means that you have to make the most out of that few minutes.

If you come across as a slacker because of how you choose to speak, then they’ll leave with that understanding. If you arrive late, they’ll take that to mean that you’re simply not a punctual person.

But on the other hand, if you show them your best side during that few minutes, the hiring manager will see exactly what benefit the business will gain by hiring you.

And that should be your goal!