In my previous life as a recruiter, I mostly had positive experiences with candidates. A lot of them were well-prepared, friendly, and genuinely interested in the role they were being interviewed for, which made selecting the right person a really big challenge.
However, the most memorable interviews I’ve conducted were with some of the rudest contenders I’ve met. The worst part? I could tell they had no idea how impolitely they were treating me. Before you sit down for your next interview, here are a few things to consider about how you might be sabotaging your chances to land your dream job.
1. You Only Brought One Copy of Your Resume
No, seriously—I have vivid memories of interviewees sitting down, reaching into their bags for their resume, and only having one copy. That would’ve been fine if I was the only person in the room, but that was never the case. I was always one of a handful of my colleagues who had taken time out of their day to meet with candidates. And on the rare instance when someone showed up without a few copies, that always threw me off. Sure, I had printed out a few for everyone in advance, but it was still really off-putting when a job seeker asked if it would be OK if we all shared. Hint: The answer is always no. So, even if you think you’re only meeting with the hiring manager, print out a few extra.
2. You Don’t Take a Minute to Ask the Interviewer About Herself
Sure, the person you’re interviewing with is about to make a very important decision about your life. And yes, there are some really high stakes. But ultimately, she’s also trying to decide if she’d like working with you on a daily basis. So, if you show little to no interest in her career or what she’s interested in outside of work, you’re also making it clear that all you care about is getting to the point where you’re discussing how many dollars that company is going to pay you. Yes, this process can be intense, but that’s still no excuse for not making a little small talk with everyone you meet with. It’ll not only calm you down a bit, but also put your interviewer at ease—which is a great added bonus.
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3. You Ask Questions at the End to Try and Sound Smarter
You should absolutely ask whatever questions you have about the position. However, just as you would during a team meeting, it’s important to know when you’ve gotten all the answers you need. And once you do, it’s perfectly OK to stop. In fact, if you get into the habit of asking questions just to try and extend a conversation, you’re only hurting your chances of landing the job. While it might be easy think you nailed the interview because it lasted longer than you had expected, that’s not always the case. Consider how many things your interviewer has to do after he or she leaves your conversation. As soon as you go over the designated time, odds are high the person’s now going through his to-do list and getting stressed about running late.
4. You Take Subtle Jabs at the Office
Hey, I get it. You’re funny sometimes, and a joke here or there can lighten the mood in your favor. But, this gets dicey when you start making snide comments about an office space that doesn’t include an in-house sauna or beer on tap. And believe it or not, I’ve been on the receiving end of this from job seekers I initially loved—which was especially heartbreaking for me when I needed to fill a gig. So, do yourself a favor and don’t take subtle jabs at the fact that the company works in an older building, or that the kitchen looks like it was built by Mike Brady, or that the coffee machine is ancient.
Odds are high that you’re not actively trying to be rude during an interview. But, even if you’ve been told you’re the most respectful person on the face of this Earth, it’s still important to know how subtle moves can transform an interviewer’s impression of you in an instant. Still, don’t worry too much. These are common, but easily correctable mistakes. And if you’re willing to admit that you’re prone to making them and actively work to stop yourself, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache when your dream job is on the line.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author