Interview Tips: 11 Things You Must NEVER Do

interview tips

Ok so we all know the obvious things that can turn an interviewer off – sloppy dressing, being late and not doing your research.

But there are some more subtle (and not-so-subtle) faux pas that can irk a potential employer so much that your application gets binned as soon as you walk out of the room.

Check out this list of job interview tips, it may help you land your dream job.

 11 Interview Tips to Help You Nail That Job

In a job interview you should NEVER:

1. Have A Limp Handshake

A survey by recruitment firm Reed, found that the wrong sort of handshake is one of the biggest turn offs for potential employers. Over 80% said they would think twice about offering a job to someone whose handshake feels like a dead fish.

This one of the most important interview tips of all. The handshake is the first thing you do – make it firm. Not bone-crushing, just firm. And definitely no high fives!

2. Lie      

If you say you were a CEO of a major multinational, the mastermind behind a major election campaign or have scaled Mount Everest and you haven’t, you will get found out. Don’t make the Joey-off-Friends mistake and pretend you speak French (flee floo flah!).

Bigging-up your achievements is great but make sure you can back them up with hard evidence. Pay heed to what you say as this is one of the most common of all the interview tips.

3. Say You Are Using The Job As A Stepping Stone

The job you are going for may not be your dream come true. You might only want it until something better comes along or because it fits around childcare.

However, you will instantly talk yourself out of the job if you tell the recruiter this. Be enthusiastic and do your homework on the company, even if it isn’t your ideal job.

4. Think You’re On An Episode Of ‘The Apprentice’

Showing-off, basically. Or being overly aggressive and punching the air. Or using tired buzz-phrases when answering interview questions like ‘I think outside the box’ or ‘I go the extra mile’ or even ‘hire me; I’m just the best’.

It may impress Alan Sugar but it doesn’t work in the real world. Answer questions naturally and personably, leaving out the CV blah.

5. Tell The Interviewer About Your Personal Life

It’s perhaps ok to say if you have a family/kids/new house at the end of the interview, but don’t launch into a litany of your personal woes.

So avoid referring to your messy divorce, overbearing mother-in-law or ingrowing toenail. Nobody needs to know.

6. Ask About Salary, Perks And Holidays

Yes you want to talk about this stuff but you haven’t got the job yet. It’s bad form to talk money or when you can book that two-week Spanish holiday ten minutes into the interview. A great job interview tip: wait until you are offered the job before you negotiate terms.

7. Answer Your Phone

One recruiter said that a candidate not only answered her phone during the interview but had a prolonged and heated discussion with her plumber as well. Put your phone on silent and leave it in your bag.

 8. Insist On Your Own Individual Sense Of Style

This is obvious but it’s surprising how many people are very defensive about their personal style, no matter how outlandish. It may be dull but; smart and sober attire is a must for creating a great first impression.

You may like to wear yellow dungarees with clown shoes but, unless you are going for a job as a children’s entertainer, best to stick to a suit and polished [normal] shoes.

9. Make Rude Jokes

Some light humour and a relaxed-but-professional attitude can lower the tension in an interview. Just don’t retell the crude-but-hilarious joke you overheard in the pub last night. And it goes without saying that swearing is a big no-no.

10. Say You Hate Your Boss

Your current boss may be a tyrant but it’s not in your interests to mention it. The interviewer will think you’re a trouble-maker. Take heed of this interview tip: a casual reference to your horrible boss may lose you the job.

11. Bring Your Pet

Though the least common among the interview tips, it happens more often than people think. An employer writing on LinkedIn tells of one candidate who brought her enormous German Shepherd to an interview because she ‘couldn’t find anyone to look after him’.

Another hid his tiny terrier in his rucksack. And it’s not just dogs – one company director told American cable channel CNBC that an interviewee brought her cat in a box and proceeded to play with it during the interview.  Leave the furry friends at home maybe?

Over to you!

Have you committed any interview sins? Share your interview tips with us in the comment box below…We’d love to hear from you.



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  1. Fortunately, I have never had to sit for an interview; however, I’m pretty sure I could avoid most of these faux pas. I would add, ensure you don’t down an onion and garlic sandwich (chased with coffee) just before the interview. Nothing worse than ‘blowing’ the interview with bad breath.

  2. Certainly bad breath can ruin an interview. You have to be really careful especially if your job interview is scheduled in the afternoon after a lunch break.

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