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San Antonio, TX

Advanced knowledge of programming language(s), software development tools and environment(s) and systems analysis and functional design

5 Ways to Ruin an Interview

July 23, 2013
5 Ways to Ruin an Interview

With so many different steps to the interview process, it is easy to forget there are many ways to be passed up for a job opportunity. While your resume might stand out, over the years our team has seen great candidates miss out on an opportunity, all because of these job interview missteps!

1.) Show up late for an interview

Timeliness is key and it’s important to remember to be punctual. If you can’t show up on time for an interview, what will that tell a potential employer about your reliability as an employee? Being on time shows you are prepared and organized, and also gives you time to shake off any pre-interview jitters.

2.) Demonstrate poor personal appearance

Always remember that it is important to dress to impress for an interview. Wearing revealing clothing, baggy clothes or displaying poor hygiene may come off as unprofessional. Wearing proper interview attire and displaying a clean appearance can help you leave a good first impression. If you are unsure on how professional to dress for the interview, keep in mind – it is always better to overdress, than underdress.


3.) Display bad manners

From bad eye contact and limp handshakes to answering or texting on your phone, these bad manners are typically major reasons a hiring manager may overlook you for a job. It’s important to stay fully engaged in the interview, giving the interviewer your full attention. Don’t forget to thank them for their time as well.

4.) Display lack of interest

You want to be able to show a potential employer what you're capable of during a job interview. This is the time to show your enthusiasm and passion for the position. Be sure to show your enthusiasm by speaking clearly and confidently and ask questions about the company and position. While you want to remain confident, it’s also important not to come off as a “know-it-all”. Instead focus on providing detailed, yet brief answers that allow you to quantify each of the accomplishments in your career. Doing your homework ahead of time by researching the company and the position can equip you with relevant questions to ask during the interview that will show your sincere interest.


5.) Reply with negative comments

When an interviewer brings up past jobs, it is always important to be honest with your experiences while keeping the topic positive. Do not bash your previous employer, but instead discuss what you learned from that experience.



There are likely many other ways to ruin an interview, but if you avoid the five bad habits above you could be one step closer to landing a new job. Remember, often times it is not the person most qualified on paper for the job that lands it, but rather the best interviewer.

About the author

Jennifer WaldripJennifer Waldrip is Kforce Vice President of West Operations. Waldrip has more than 20 years of experience in the staffing industry. She graduated with a B.A. in Communications from BYU. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.

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Comments (23) -

Troy Ashby

Troy Ashby United States
7/29/2013 3:51:24 PM #

I couldn't agree more!

John Shomaker

John Shomaker United States
8/21/2013 11:20:07 AM #

I've actually had an interviewer ask me to email him my questions. He also asked me to stop taking notes on what they're looking for. Am I actually out of line taking notes during interviews?

Shabir Ahmed

Shabir Ahmed United States
8/21/2013 1:08:39 PM #


Is this the best you've got?

Is this the best you've got? United States
8/21/2013 2:31:36 PM #

Wow, there are some gems here:

"Don't turn up late for a interview"

Who would have thought? Come on, if you need to read an article such as this to tell you not be late, not to have bad manners or any of the other nuggets here you really have bigger problems than not having a job.

K-Force: Is this really the best, most original and insightful advice you have?

Dale S

Dale S United States
8/21/2013 3:09:06 PM #

You have to tell people this?!  It seems obvious.


Jessica United States
8/21/2013 3:35:48 PM #

well thank you captain obvious... do people really think they'll get jobs if they do any of these??? I'd like to know why I've interviewed for 4 different positions within the past few months and haven't received an offer. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong!

elise Bleu

elise Bleu United States
8/21/2013 3:41:11 PM #

@John Shomaker, NO you were not wrong for taking notes. I always take notes! Before I wrap up an interview and if I'm really interested in the position, I go through the list and briefly explain how I match their wish list. Some interviewers are very uncouth; one time I literally ended an interview, I wasn't feeling them, they bored me with their systematic questions and just blah interviewers and lack of professionalism. I wasn't iterested in working with those group of people so I said, "Based on the your answers to my questions and the energy I'm feeling, I'm no longer interested in this position. I think now is a good time to end the interview, thank you for your time, it was nice meeting you."


Jim United States
8/21/2013 5:17:31 PM #

This might be one of the worst articles I have read in a long time.


John United States
8/21/2013 5:24:43 PM #

The biggest interview mistake of all is being over fifty.


Dave United States
8/21/2013 5:33:28 PM #

This just in: the sky is blue, the sun is warm, and the ocean is wet.

Tom Leurck

Tom Leurck United States
8/21/2013 5:35:57 PM #

Lame advice at best.


Patsy United States
8/21/2013 5:57:21 PM #

@John - you really are supposed to ask the interviewer's permission to take notes and refer to your notes. Perhaps the ability to remember details of conversations was one of the skills they were looking for in that particular case. It's a CRAZY job market these days. I've been interviewed for a position other that the one I applied for, which is fine, except HR never informed me of the change prior to the interview, so I wasn't as prepared as I normally would have been. I've had two managers tell me I was more suited to positions in other departments. Yet they had my resume prior to scheduling the interview (one said it right at the start of the interview), so why did they bring me in for an interview in their department? It's very difficult to keep getting your hopes up - only to be dashed. It really wears on you over time.

I do agree with the other comments - who doesn't know the basics contained in this article?


concerned United States
8/21/2013 6:59:19 PM #

This is what you should expect with K-force. They deal with low level jobs mist of the time, so they have to explain this kind of behavior. If you have worked in high level jobs this is not the place to go to look for a promising job.


george United States
8/21/2013 7:01:01 PM #

what? i should be on time and not stink when i go to a job interview? i didn't know that. thank you captain obvious.


kurt United States
8/21/2013 7:36:08 PM #

@ John Shomaker: No your not. I graduated from college December 2012 and when I went for all my interviews, every single interviewer took notes. I never found anything wrong with it and probably would do the same thing if I were in their shoes.


Disillusioned United States
8/21/2013 8:24:05 PM #

The first 4 tips are pretty obvious. Duh!
How about some tips for company managers conducting the interviews?  I have had 4 interviews in 3 months.(Very slow summer).  One executive was late and left me waiting 45 minutes while he was at lunch. Two executives, one was a company president, admitted to not reviewing my resume before walking into the conference room. Both asked the wrong questions. Two executives, at VP level, said "so tell me about yourself," "so walk me through your resume". Really?  Is that how a candidate for a director or VP of marketing should be treated?  That's like reading your PowerPoint slides, line for line to your audience. I was laid off in May but when I was a manger I took my staffing duties very seriously, treated all candidates with respect, came prepared  with relevant questions, and gave the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. HR teams please provide some training to your executives.

Dee M.

Dee M. United States
8/21/2013 11:30:35 PM #

@ Elise Blue - Love that Moxie, did sort of the same thing recently. So many people popping in interrupting the interviewer, who also said to the people interrupting  (despite a job board posting of the position) that  it was an unsolicited resume interview ...and this being said in my presence no less. I stood up and basically said, "I think it would be a good idea to reschedule, obviously  you are not advised and are unprepared for my being here."   The take away: Completely unorganized company,  no way do I want to work there.


JB United States
8/22/2013 6:37:22 AM #

Yeah not really insightful.

How about this? Do a bit of research of the company and position they are offering before you go into the interview. Employers appreciate that you have the initiative to find out what they are all about.

Remember also that while they are interviewing you for a position, you are also interviewing them to see if its a good fit. Jotting down a few notes shouldn't be an issue. Writing a book might be though.

The Foolish

The Foolish United States
8/22/2013 7:45:44 AM #

The whole employment paradigm is broken. It doesn't work the way it used to, and it's never going to be the same. What you need to realize is that the job market as we know it is going away. We've got maybe a decade of it left, if that.

What you need to do is incorporate yourself, and protect against liabilities. A good New Mexico LLC will accomplish this. From there, use your social network to build alliances with other people who are doing the same thing. It'll take a few months until you're profitable, but you'll get by if you hustle a little.

There's really no reason for intelligent, educated people to go through the hassle of job interviews, when their skills are worth more on the open market. The key is being courageous enough to realize that, and have the gumption to do it.

How many months of being unemployed is it going to take you to understand this?

There is no going home.
There is no such thing as safe.

Stop behaving like an employment junkie, and become an entrepreneur.

You'll be glad you did.

A Story

A Story United States
8/22/2013 2:27:47 PM #

I was just arriving at an interview the other day with 5 minutes to spare. I was standing outside the building feeling a little hungry and noticed a cafe right next door. It had a long line so I'd be about half an hour late for my interview. I really did not know what to do so I got my Smart Phone out, read this article and learned that I would have been better off going to the interview without getting something to eat first which would have made me late.

Thanks KForce, what would I have done without you.


Evey United States
8/22/2013 2:56:03 PM #

Tired of all the Red Tape that takes to get a Job. All I want is to work.
Tired of rehearsals Q & A. If I dont say what they want to hear I am in trouble. I am tired of not being myself!
Some Interviewers are like the Inquisition and they dont care much about the level of stress that some Introvert people like me go trough during the interview process.


Jeopardy United States
8/22/2013 4:42:41 PM #

I have had same 4 interviews in 3 months. Had the same problem with waiting. In all cases the resume was not even possessed by interviewer. They asked unqualified questions. After third fiasco I realized, that so-named interviewers have no clue in the state of the modern technology and invited me to  educate them. I can not qualify otherwise three hours long interviews. Should I ask for a re-imbursement for the lecturing? It is my understanding, that all this executives are very good in the catching new buzzwords such as "cloud",  "LTE", etc. without even bothering to look for the meaning in dictionaries. What is the reason to do it if they can invite on interview an applicant and treat him as a slave?


stephanie United States
8/22/2013 6:35:59 PM #

I'm not doing any of these and still can't get someone to offer me the job!

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Knowledge Employed is a career advice blog and job tips resource center, created and managed by Kforce’s staffing specialists. Whether you are a professional needing career advice or a hiring authority seeking business guidance, our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools.