Don’t Do This in an Interview by, Alan Bernstein, President HR Office Savers

During a recent job search training, one of my students asked: “What is the one thing I should never say or do in an interview?” My initial response was “There really isn’t just one thing!”. After some group discussion, I offered my top three things to avoid when searching for a job.

Don’t be late

Of all the things that can go wrong, top of the list is being late to the interview. There is an old expression: “If you are not 15 minutes early, you are late”. That is great advice when interviewing.

If you are running late, call ahead. While you cannot beat the clock, you can communicate your schedule and show professionalism.

Pro-tip: If you arrive sooner, sit in your car until 15 minutes prior. Too early and you put the interviewer in the uncomfortable position of having to rearrange their schedule to accommodate you.

Don’t try to be funny

Having a sense of humor is a good thing, but interviews are about job skills and capability. You want to be personable and communicative. Telling jokes or being silly reduces your professionalism.

Recently I interviewed someone for a restaurant position. I asked, “why should my client hire you” and he responded: “Because I have a great smile” and then laughed because it was meant to be funny. We did not move forward.

Don’t come unprepared

It is your responsibility to be prepared for the interview. You should bring two copies of your resume and something you can take notes with, such as a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.

Research the company before the interview and read the job description so you can know what questions to expect. If you don’t have a job description, lookup similar jobs online to get a feel for what you might be asked in the interview.

Pro-tip: Ask for a business card or write down the interviewer’s name and email so you can follow up later with a thank you note.

In Conclusion

There are many ways to trip up. But with practice, you can master the basics. Many mistakes are avoidable with a little foresight and planning. 

Alan is the owner of HR Office Savers, Inc., an independent human resource consulting firm that supports small local businesses and individuals with their human resource needs, including staffing, compliance, and job search. Prior to launching his business, Alan held a series of Human Resource positions of increased responsibility at Harris Corporation, Honeywell International, GTSI Corp, and Verizon Wireless.  Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Buffalo, is Six Sigma Green Belt Certified, and is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resource Management.

HR Office Savers offers a full range of human resource support options, from employee relations to termination, including performance improvement plans and progressive discipline policies. Contact us today at
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