Woman sitting across from a man during a job interview.

When going into a job interview, the last thing you want to do is sabotage yourself. Unfortunately many candidates do just that. Whether they realize it or not, certain things they do annoy the recruiter(s) conducting the interview. It’s entirely possible for one small thing to keep you from having a great job interview. In an effort to avoid that from happening, we’ve compiled a list of recruiter’s and interviewer’s top pet peeves.

1. Being Late

If anything on the list is going to get you immediately disqualified, it’s being late. Showing up late to a job interview does a lot of things, and none of them are good. It indicates that you can’t plan ahead well, you don’t value the interviewer’s time, and you aren’t seriously interested in the position. Whether or not those assumptions are true, whoever is interviewing you will likely be making them. Make sure you always plan enough time to get to the job interview ahead of schedule.

2. Not Being Prepared

Not being prepared can take many different forms. For starters, there are a few things you should always bring to a job interview. It will definitely stand out if you don’t have copies of your resume ready to hand out. They also will notice if you blank entirely on an answer, or if you didn’t research the company at all. It’s very important for you to put in all the prep work ahead of the interview. Pore over the job description, and find out how it lines up with your skills. Research the company online and on social media. Gather everything you need. All of the prep work you can do before the interview is the easy part, so it definitely shouldn’t be neglected.

3. Checking Your Phone

If you’re firing on all cylinders in your job search, it’s no surprise that you’re attached to your phone. However, continuing to be attached during a job interview is going to be a problem. If you’re sitting down for a job interview, make sure your phone is away, and on silent. It’s going to be extremely distracting if it keeps vibrating or ringing throughout the job interview.

4. Strong Smells

One of the first things an interviewer will notice is any strong smell. Typically job interviews take place in conference rooms, which are small enclosed spaces. So it’s important to be aware of any strong smells. Smoke, perfume, cologne, body odor, should all be kept to a minimum. Make sure you shower the day of the job interview, and don’t overdo any perfume or cologne you may wear.

5. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum will absolutely distract any interviewer from anything you are saying. The same goes for coffee or water if you drink it loudly, or spill it. If you are going to drink something, make sure you do so calmly and quietly. Gum however, is just a no. Don’t even risk chewing it before the interview and forgetting. If you are worried about your breath, just have a mint!

6. Fidgeting & Nerves

It’s completely understandable to be nervous during a job interview. However, you should do your best to keep it from showing. If you fidget too much, it will be noticed by the interviewer. Foot tapping, finger tapping, or leg shaking will all be very distracting, so try to avoid it. Many people will also either speak too fast, or use filler words like ‘um’ when they are nervous. Do your best to avoid these as well. If you are worried it may happen, see if you can find someone willing to do a mock interview with you. This will get you more comfortable with the process, and they can also point out any nervous habits they notice.

7. Focusing Too Much on Compensation

It’s entirely possible that you are conducting your job search because you are looking for more pay. However, no company wants to know that, or think that. Don’t be overeager to discuss compensation, especially in the first job interview. Every interview and employer would like to think that you would like to work for them first and foremost because you believe in their company and product(s). So going into the first interview and throwing out questions about compensation won’t win you any points. Focus on acing the interview first, and you can worry about compensation when you receive an offer letter. You’re also in a better position to negotiate when you already know that they want you!

8. Not Being Enthusiastic

No interviewer wants to hire someone who is boring or unenthusiastic. Your level of enthusiasm in the interview seems to reflect your excitement for the position. So if you’re not enthusiastic, most hiring managers will assume it is because you are uninterested in the opportunity. It’s important to remember that likeability plays a huge role in job interview decisions, like it or not. Most interviewers are looking to hire someone they would enjoy  working with. So do your best to be personable and enthusiastic to increase your chances. Just make sure you still are yourself!

9. Failing to Maintain Eye Contact

During a job interview, it’s important to maintain eye contact, and show that you are actively listening. What you absolutely should not do is look down during the interview. Failing to make eye contact shows a lack of confidence, and you want to show that you believe in your own skills and abilities. Don’t have a staring contest, but maintain a normal amount of eye contact.

10. Lying

Although the previous 9 points will certainly annoy hiring managers and recruiters this last one takes the cake for the worst thing you can do. Lying during your interview is just a bad idea. Whether you’re lying about current employment, salary, criminal records, or anything along those lines, just don’t do it. Employers will call your references to verify employment, and they may run a background check. Employers would much rather you just be up front and honest. That’s not to say you have to volunteer any information you don’t want to, and you can always refuse any illegal interview questions. Just make sure you don’t lie!

Job interviews are always going to be somewhat intimidating and taxing. There is a competitive nature about them, and it’s important to be the best you can. It’s also important to avoid any behaviors or factors that may hurt your chances. We hope you found this list informative, and can avoid anything that may annoy your interviewer!