Hiring Managers Reveal 6 Surprising Interview Turn-Offs

What are the things job seekers do in an interview that turns off hiring managers the most?

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It’s not just showing up late, getting blasted with text messages mid-interview because a cell phone was left on, or appearing completely uninterested in the position for which one is interviewing.  Sure, those are annoying and will quickly help a candidate fall out of contention for the job, but the most surprising interview turn-offs are easily avoidable with preparation and planning – a must for any successful job interview.

Here are some of those interview turn-offs, from Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Engagement at Ceridian, a human capital management firm, and Leilani Lucero, Recruiting Manager at Justworks, a payroll services, benefits and compliance firm:

1. Not taking an interview seriously

Many candidates are way too casual for a professional job interview “Candidates today are doing a number of things that can be perceived by recruiters and hiring managers as lack of respect, but it may not seem that way to the candidate,” says LaMere. “In the end, it reflects poorly on the candidate when they are not representing their best possible self.”

2. Distraction free zone

Candidates not taking into account the type of environment they are in when taking the interview. It should be in a distraction-free zone.  “As great as it is to conduct business from a coffee shop, the background noise can play into how the interview continues to be conducted,” says LaMere. In one case, a recruiter was interviewing a candidate and that candidate placed an order for coffee during the interview. “It’s in the best interest of the candidate to be in a quiet, distraction-free zone that allows to give their 100% attention to the recruiter and/or the hiring manager,” says LaMere.

3. Candidates who don’t have a clue about the company

It’s noticeable when a candidate applies for a job, but doesn’t know anything about the company, says Lucero, who says it’s a “huge turn off, when a candidate is uneducated about the company and stumbles on interview questions related to Justworks’ mission and values.” Applicants who can specifically speak to the company’s culture and values stand out. “Our interview process is based on our values, so want to make sure that a candidate’s personal values are a good match,” says Lucero. LaMere agrees. “In the war for talent, it’s still important for a candidate to do their research to make sure that this is the right company and culture for them,” she says.

4. Candidates who don’t follow-up with a thank you note

The art of the thank you note, whether it’s via an actual handwritten note or an email, still has an enormous impact in the hiring process with both the recruiter and the hiring manager. The candidates who sends a thank you immediately after the interview, show they are serious and interested in the job, and it’s just professionally courteous, says LaMere.

5. Candidates who don’t ask questions

“It shows that you are unengaged and not interested in learning more about the company other than what you already know from the website,” says Lucero.

6. Badmouthing former employers and co-workers

Did you have a bad experience with your last employer? Keep it to yourself. “An even bigger turn off is when a candidate speaks badly about their previous employer or colleagues,” says Lucero. “We understand that each job you have may not be the best for a variety of reasons but there has to be some personal accountability. We are a team here at Justworks and it’s important each employee is able to work collaboratively and openly.”

Why are these surprising interview turn-offs? Because they are all avoidable with planning and preparation, which is key to any successful job interview.

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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