Sometimes an interview goes well. You hit it out of the park. A call quickly follows. The job is yours!
But that’s not always the case.
Other times, the interview goes wrong. Or it goes worse than wrong. You make a mistake that there’s no coming back from and leave with only embarrassment.
This article is about those times. It’s not about shaming anyone, because we all make mistakes! Instead, we want to share outrageous interview blunders real recruiters said applicants made with them. Why? Because every mistake is a learning opportunity.
Let’s get started.
They asked, “What do you guys do?”
Never, ever, ever go into an interview without this information. Why even apply to a company if you have no idea what it does? This simply shows a lack of preparation and interest.
When interviewing, you need to make sure you have a solid grasp on the following information:
- What the company does
- The history of the company
- The company’s mission
It’s also helpful to know a bit about the person interviewing you. Try to find any information you can on LinkedIn or the company’s website about them. Usually, businesses share a Team page with a little blurb about each person. At the very least, read through that before arriving at your interview.
They said, “I am getting divorced, and I need health insurance.”
This might be your reality, and if it is, sorry you are going through it! However, you are trying to make a good first impression. By saying this, you are dropping a lot of information on the interviewer here without any time or history for them to understand the important context.
Most of us apply for jobs because we need something—pay (or more pay), health insurance, etc. However, companies want to know what attracted you to them specifically. What they’re actually asking is, “Where do you see an alignment between your skills and interests and what we do?” That’s because someone who is interested in what they’re doing will be more engaged and likely to stay longer.
Remember, you want to stay as professional as possible during a job interview. You have very little time to show them what you have to offer as a worker. That’s why you want to make sure you have answers prepared for interview questions such as, “Why are you interested in working here?”
We can help! Here are a few articles that will prepare you for your interview:
- How to Prepare for a Job Interview
- 4 Important Questions to Ask in an Interview
- How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
They “Fell asleep for a second…”
Listen, we love a good nap just as much as anyone else. However, there is a time and place. A job interview is neither of those things.
Job interviews feel stressful to most people, so it’s understandable if you couldn’t sleep well the night before yours. That’s okay—you’re human! If this is an area where you struggle, the Alaska Sleep Clinic shared several tips on finding ways to tire out and sleep the night before a job interview. This includes the following:
- Stay away from caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bedtime
- Try eating a light meal that evening so you don’t disturb your digestive system
- Exercise lightly a few hours before you go to sleep to tire out your body
- Take a warm bath with aromatherapy oils, which help soothe nerves
Some caffeinated coffee or tea might also help you energize on your interview day. However, be careful with how much you drink, because you don’t want to make this blunder…
“I asked if I can go to the bathroom during the interview.”
Sometimes, your body betrays you, and there’s nothing you can do other than run to a restroom. But, if possible, you want to try your best to prevent this from happening while in a job interview.
Remember, the recruiter, hiring manager, or really anyone interviewing you has other tasks they need to complete that day. This most likely isn’t the only part of their day. Because of that, you don’t want to waste any of their time while you spend five minutes (or more) in the bathroom when you should be showing off your skills and personality.
Our best advice here is to try to use the restroom before the interview. Also, listen to your body before the interview. If you think your nerves will make you need to use the restroom while talking to the interviewer, then try to limit how much you drink or eat beforehand.
“Like, serious amounts of sweat.”
Sweating is not always something we can control. Much of the time, it’s a matter of nerves. If that’s the case, try to find some calming techniques to practice before the interview. For example, breathing exercises and meditating can help with relaxing your body.
However, it’s also important to dress for the occasion and weather conditions. Your appearance is the first thing the interviewer will take in when you walk through the door or log into your video interview. Make sure it is polished and professional.
If you live in a warmer climate, try wearing a lightweight blouse or shirt. Also, try to find something that is looser (but still polished!) so it doesn’t stick to your body and has a little air circulation. If you are a woman, you can also wear a light skirt or dress instead of a pants suit. Again, just make sure whatever you wear is professional and fits in with the business’s dress code.
“Don’t pull out a vape and take a drag if you’re interviewing…”
Smoking during an interview might have been a power move back in the Mad Men days, but that’s no longer the case. First of all, most businesses don’t permit smoking indoors anymore. Because of that, smoking during an in-person interview can appear disrespectful. Also, it’s just unhealthy for not only you but also the interviewer. Even if you are interviewing through video, smoking from a vape or cigarette just seems unprofessional.
As you can see, if you’ve committed an interview blunder, you aren’t alone. Shake it off and try to use it as a learning opportunity. And follow us on social for more job interview tips and laughs for the modern job search: