Skip to Main Content

How You’re Turning Off Employers—Even Though You’re Awesome

By Kat Boogaard

The bullet points on your resume are perfectly quantified and sure to impress. Your past experience fits perfectly with the job description. You’re sure you nailed the job interview, and you stroll out of that office lobby feeling confident you’ll have an offer in hand within hours.

And then, it happens. That dreaded, “We enjoyed meeting you but we decided to go with another candidate” email arrives in your inbox.

“What happened?!” you think to yourself. You felt so certain that you knocked the whole application process out of the park—but now you have nothing but a form rejection email to show for it.

No matter how hard you rack your brain, you can’t think of anything you did wrong. But, as you already know, the job application process isn’t always easy. And, there are plenty of not-so-obvious behaviors that could very well be making potential employers run the other way. Put an end to these habits, and you’re sure to boost your chances of landing that dream job.

You’re Talking About Yourself Too Much

This first point is likely enough to inspire several confused stares. After all, the point of the interview process is to talk about yourself. However, this still involves a little bit of strategy—rather than simply rambling on and on.

What exactly does “strategy” mean? The most important thing to remember is that you should be talking about what you bring to the table for that employer. What value do you add? What skills do you offer? What experience do you have? What exactly can you accomplish for them?

That’s the type of self-centered gabbing you want to be doing. But, if you’re instead using all of your time to talk about why you want that job, why it’d be so good for you, and what you’d get out of the experience, you can hardly blame your interviewer for deciding to go a different direction.

Yes, that sounds a little selfish on the employer’s part. But, it’s the way things go—companies make hiring decisions based on what potential employees offer.

You’re Being Presumptive

You already know that you should be careful with your language when you’re interviewing—nobody wants to hire someone who litters every phrase with curse words or can’t seem to make it through a single sentence without a ridiculous amount of “like”s and “ummm”s.

However, there’s one other thing you’ll want to be conscious of: Saying “we”. When answering interview questions, that tiny little pronoun can sound a little presumptuous—like you’re assuming you’ve already landed the job.

Of course, this language use could be a little controversial. There might be a few interviewers and hiring managers who really appreciate your direct and team-centered approach. But, if you want to stick with the safe side, you’re better off staying far away from that little word altogether.

Your Body Language is All Wrong

Your nonverbal cues can often say a lot more than the words that are actually falling out of your mouth. And, it’s for that very reason that you want to be extra conscious of your body language when you’re in a job interview.

From a weak handshake and frequent fidgeting to chewing your lip and failing to make eye contact, there are plenty of different (and, unfortunately, common) body language habits that can serve to make you look really unconfident—and turn off interviewers as a result.

So, remember to be conscious of your movements. Practice in front of a mirror if you have to! Do what you need to do to ensure your outer appearance reflects what an awesome candidate you truly are.

Your Personal Hygiene Leaves A Lot to Be Desired

Speaking of your outer appearance—here it is. The taboo topic that very few people want to talk about. However, it’s important. So, we absolutely had to mention it here.

Decent personal hygiene is critical for presenting you as a polished and professional applicant. A stained or wrinkled shirt, messy hair, or—worst of all—an unpleasant odor when you walk into a room are all sure to send an interviewer running the other way.

So, pay a little extra attention to your appearance on the day of your interview. Your interviewer (and everyone else!) will thank you.

You’re Not Being Gracious

While it might seem like an archaic job search tradition of the past, you’d be surprised at how far a good old-fashioned thank you note can get you in your job hunt.

After you’ve wrapped up an interview? Make sure to send a sincere thank you to the hiring manager or whoever else participated in your interview. That graciousness and professionalism is always appreciated—and also ensures that you’re memorable (in a good way!).

And, if you do end up getting one of those dreaded rejection emails? You should still respond to express your appreciation for the opportunity. Remember, the world is surprisingly small—and every single interaction can have a large impact on your professional reputation.

Continuing to get those “thanks, but no thanks” emails time and time again is frustrating—particularly when you feel like you’re doing everything right. However, before jumping to conclusions and assuming the interviewer is a moody, irrational jerk, take a magnifying glass to your own behaviors. If you’re falling into the trap of any of the above five habits, you could be turning employers off. So, put them to an end, and prepare for better results!

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

The information in our press releases, blogs, articles, testimonials, videos and presentations should be considered accurate only as of the date thereof. We disclaim any obligation to supplement or update the information in this type of content, and any links or references therein to third party articles or other third party content does not constitute our endorsement of that third party.

Read Related Articles