10 things you should never do in a job interview

Interviews can be tough and intimidating, and can feel like you never quite get it right. Don't do these things and you'll be OK.

shaking hands You always want to seal the deal in a job interview.

1. Be negative

It's never a good idea to be critical towards past employers you may have had. Negativity towards previous experiences does not reflect poorly on the organization, but on you. Always be optimistic about past challenges you’ve faced and what you learned from those experiences.

2. Show your nerves

It’s normal to feel nervous during an interview, especially if you’ve been preparing for a while. However coming across as too nervous may be interpreted by the interviewer as you needing to work on the interpersonal skills necessary to thrive in the work environments—be that with other students in the lab or customers for the company. This doesn’t mean you need to be an extrovert—just be confident in yourself and your answers!

3. Lie about anything

It can be tempting to overstate your experience to make you seem more qualified than you are, especially when you feel trapped in a perpetual "I need experience to get experience" cycle. But exaggerating your qualifications is never a good idea. The risks from doing a job you aren't qualified for is harmful to yourself and others. Some other ways of getting out of this cycle can include volunteering to gain necessary skills, doing workshops, or even taking a course to diversify your skill set!

4. Be arrogant

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be confident and enthusiastic during an interview, but appearing arrogant is usually a downfall. There is a fine line between bragging and being confident. No matter how qualified you think you are for the position, nobody owes you the job so stay humble, be respectful, and make sure to thank your interviewer for their time and the opportunity to interview for the position.

5. Dress too casually

While you don’t need to wear a suit and tie to interview at a lab (typically), it's important to present yourself professionally. So no leggings or sweats, no messy hair, and please don’t wear running shoes. How you present yourself reflects on your cleanliness, organization, and work ethic. It shows your interviewer that you're taking this seriously.

6. Show up late

This one speaks for itself. Remember, 10 minutes early is on time. Don’t forget to double-check your interview time and location, and make sure you review how to get there on Google Maps.

7. Leave them hanging

Often at the end of an interview, you'll be asked if you have any questions. Never say "no." This is a great time not only to ask questions about the position and the organization, but also to ask them about the timeline for the (potential) hiring process, reaffirm how qualified and passionate you are, and of course ask any other questions. Don’t forget to thank them for the interview!

8. Display bad body language

Body language is a big reflection of your entire attitude and what you think of the people you're with and the place you're in. Be sure to sit up straight, and make eye contact. Slouching, as well as fiddling around, could show that you’re nervous, uninterested, or arrogant.

9. Forget to do your homework

Make sure you know the position you're applying for through and through. Be ready to talk about how your skills, experience, and attitude fulfill the values and requirements of the position. Make sure you have evidence to back up the fact that you are the one for the job.

10. Ramble on

Although it's important to answer the question with more than one-word responses, rambling on and on for minutes is not recommended. Gather your thoughts and try to articulate them clearly so the interviewer gets the point. Rambling loses their interest and can make them think you don't know what you're talking about. If you feel like you're rambling, stop yourself and ask the interviewer to repeat the question. This will help you get back on track. You could also ask if your response answers their question and they may take the opportunity to elaborate and redirect you.

Looking for interview advice and tips? Maybe even a mock interview? Drop by our peer advising hours at the Bissett Student Success Centre and across campus in Halifax or access career support offered through the Student Success Centre in Truro.