10 job interview mistakes you’ll most likely regret

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If you’re looking for a new job, the interview process is probably something you don’t look forward to.

While it’s a necessary step in order to secure a new position, there’s undoubtedly an awkwardness when a hiring manager asks an oddball question.

But sometimes it’s the job applicants who aren’t doing themselves any favors either.

Read more: Free or cheap resources for finding a job

10 strange job interview mistakes

After a survey of more than 2,500 hiring managers, CareerBuilder.com says these are the strangest things people have done in job interviews:

  • Candidate took a family photo off of interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse.
  • Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
  • Candidate said her main job was being a psychic/medium and tried to read interviewer’s palm, despite interviewer’s attempts to decline the offer.
  • When asked what her ideal job was, candidate said ‘painter of birdhouses.’ (Company was hiring for a data entry clerk.)
  • Candidate sang her responses to questions.
  • Candidate put lotion on her feet during the interview.
  • When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
  • Candidate started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
  • Candidate had a pet bird in her shirt.
  • Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom ‘ and flushed.

Watch your body language

While those mistakes are rare, this study found there are more common things that could hurt your chances of getting the job, even if you have an excellent resume.

As it turns out, potential employers are watching your body language very closely.

We’ve all heard that a weak handshake can give a bad first impression, which is true, but hiring managers say there are bigger mistakes:

  1. Failing to make eye contact
  2. Failing to smile
  3. Playing with something on the table
  4. Having bad posture
  5. Fidgeting too much in their seat

You can blame a lot of this on nervousness, so consider doing a mock interview with an honest friend beforehand.

How’s your voice?

In this YouTube video from Forbes, speech coach and author Chris Jahnke says job applicants often overlook the quality of their voice.


If you’re a fast talker, slow down and lower the tone of your voice to project confidence.

Read more: 9 keys to online resume success

Your words matter

Aside from the tone of your voice, you want to spend time thinking about what you’re actually going to say, which is why you need to prepare.

Here are three tips to ensure a smooth job interview:

Do your research

Learn everything you can about the hiring manager and company before the interview to let the employer know you understand the company’s needs and how you can contribute.

And if you know someone who already works there, use them as a resource.

Practice answers to common questions

One of the things job applicants fear the most is the type of questions they’ll be asked during the interview. CareerBuilder says these questions are safe bets:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness?
  • Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.

Be positive

Hiring managers want people with positive attitudes to join their team, so never say anything negative about your previous employer or manager.

Confidently answer questions in a positive manner and with enthusiasm.


Additional useful resources

If you’re just beginning to put feelers out for a new job, we have a few resources to help you narrow your search and brush up on your resume:

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