21 unprofessional habits that could ruin your job interview
Job interviews are a prime opportunity to display some of your least professional qualities.
With all eyes on you, your habit of dressing sloppily or being exceedingly negative will be front and center for hiring managers and company influencers to see.
To help you avoid letting bad habits shine through at the worst moment, we asked experts to highlight some of the least professional behavior you could demonstrate that will almost certainly cost you the job.
Here’s what you could be doing all wrong that makes you look unprofessional during your job interview:
Not doing your homework
“Employers take note of candidates that are educated on the responsibilities of the job opening in question and on the company itself,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human-resources officer for CareerBuilder, tells Business Insider.
“This demonstrates that you made the decision to apply for the job after considering the facts, rather than out of desperation.”
As Lisa De Fazio, a healthy-lifestyle expert and registered dietitian, tells Business Insider, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
By the time you wake up you likely haven’t eaten for 10 or 12 hours, which is where breakfast got its name — it means “breaking the fast,” De Fazio says.
When blood-sugar levels are low, she explains, it’s much harder to focus and you’re more likely to feel tired, irritable, and impatient, all of which make it impossible to do your best during an interview.
Smoking and drinking
Never smoke anything before a job interview, says Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.”
“Your interviewer will smell it on you,” she says. “If she’s a smoker, she may not mind, but most interviewers gave up the nicotine habit.”
Drinking before the interview is also a bad idea. While alcohol can help calm nerves, it does so by dulling the senses, Oliver says, and you run the risk of not sounding intelligent.
Frequent tardiness is a common bad habit, but do whatever you can to avoid showing up late to the interview.
It will tell the hiring manager that you are irresponsible, aren’t taking this process seriously, and don’t respect their time. And this is not the first impression you want to make.
Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you find yourself running way ahead of schedule, TopResume’s career expert, Amanda Augustine, and Business Insider’s director of talent, Stephanie Fogle, suggest killing time by ducking into a coffee shop or walking around the neighborhood.
Why? Showing up too early isn’t great, either. It can be frustrating for the hiring manager, as your early arrival could throw a curveball into their schedule.