9 ways to sabotage your job interview

Job interviews demand a lot of preparation and energy. You’re expected to prove you’re worthy of a job – over all of the other extremely qualified candidates. That’s why it’s important to be on your absolute best professional behavior. Make sure your next interview goes smoothly – here’s what not to do in a job interview.


1. Lie

What you might gain from misrepresenting your experience on your resume isn’t worth the backlash of what will happen when you’re caught. The vast majority of employers will do some research to verify what you’re saying is true, like calling references. Lying about your experience is easy for potential employers to catch and will definitely damage your professional reputation.


2. Not follow up with questions

The last thing you want to do in your interview is appear uninterested. Asking questions about the job you’re applying for shows the hiring managers that you’re genuinely interested in the position. Make sure to have a couple of questions prepared before you go in. If you’re afraid that you’ll forget them, there’s no shame in writing them in a notebook and taking it in with you.


3. Dress down

Your attire is an important form of non-verbal communication. Even though it’s a little shallow, people will infer things about your capabilities and judgment based on your appearance. Dress in professional, conservative attire for your interview. You should be dressy, but also comfortable – this isn’t a good time to break in a new pair of shoes, even if you won’t be standing for long.


what not to do in a job interview


4. Show up unprepared

Don’t walk into an interview without knowing the answers to the following questions:

  • Who are you interviewing with?
  • What job are you interviewing for?
  • What does the company do and how many people work there?
  • How does your professional experience pertain to the position you’re interviewing for?

These questions are the bare minimum you should know before showing up.


5. Come in under-slept, hungry or overly stressed

If you can’t take care of your physical and mental health enough to show up to an interview with a clear, focused mind, how can a potential employer judge your abilities fairly? Get a good night’s sleep before the interview – don’t cram preparation in the night before. You should eat a healthy, balanced meal before you interview and if you’re overly stressed, try to exercise or meditate before you go in.


6. Be arrogant

Coming in with an overly-confident attitude is a great way to turn off your interviewer and not get the job. It’s one of the most important things not to do in a job interview. Confidence is great, but when you act as if the job should be handed to you, your interviewers will see cockiness – not competence.


what not to do in a job interview


7. Babble

Try to keep answers to your interview questions specific and concise. Your interviewer will respect your ability to deliver relevant information in a clear and condensed manner. The interview will also move more swiftly, so you can cover more ground in the time allotted.


8. Use your phone

There’s no circumstance under which it’s appropriate to pull out your cell phone while you’re being interviewed. Your phone should be all the way off. Nothing should pull away your focus from the interview.


9. Show up frazzled, late or disheveled

If it looks like you showed up to your interview as an afterthought, you will be treated as an afterthought. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get ready and get to the interview location. You want to prove that you’re calm, collected and competent.



Now that you know what not to do in a job interview, learn more about how to boost your career with an internship abroad.



1. based on business man and woman handshake in work office, by https://perzonseo.com, CC-by-2.0

2. based on worried, by Jon Rawlinson, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Weigh your career options, by Engin Erdogan, CC-by-2.0


The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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