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9 Job Interview Mistakes

9 Ways You Might Be Messing Up Your Job Interview

It's easy to commit an interview don't when one of them is considered arriving too early to reception, but showing up more than 10 or 15 minutes early might be the least of your problems. Gearing up for a job interview is stressful regardless of your work experience, and for new grads, the anticipation can be downright draining.

Learning the interview dos and don'ts is the best way to reduce the butterflies, and CareerBuilder surveyed employers on the biggest mistakes they've seen recent college graduates make in the application and interview process. Even if you don't qualify as a recent grad, you aren't immune from making the following mistakes, so review them and make sure you're among the not guilty. To see nine ways you might be messing up your job interview,


  1. Acting bored or cocky
  2. Not dressing appropriately
  3. Coming to the interview with no knowledge of the company
  4. Not turning off cell phones or electronic devices
  5. Not asking good questions during the interview
  6. Asking what the pay is before the company considered them for the job
  7. Spamming employers with the same résumé and/or cover letter
  8. Failure to remove unprofessional photos/content on social networking pages, webpages, blogs, etc.
  9. Not sending a thank-you note after the interview


Join The Conversation
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 8 years
Those really are common-sense things. But I'm happy someone addressed the whole thank-you thing in the comments. However, I'm still confused on how exactly to send a thank-you note? For example, if you go to a group interview for a clothing store do you still write a note? And how would you go about delivering it?? If I go to say, a group interview (usually I see on craigslist that a particular store is having an open house/group interviews on suchandsuch a day and very rarely I get called back for a group interview after dropping off an application and.or resume) then is a thank you note practical?? You don't really get to make yourself stand out in group interviews (or if you do you end up looking like a bigmouth that doesn't know how to share interview time with the applicants) so would the manager even appreciate that? Also how would you get it to them? Would you send a letter addressed to Hiring Manger, ABC Clothes , 123 Brown Street? I wonder if they would even check the snail mail anymore. And who would you send it to? I've been to group interviews or interviews where I was with one other person and the hiring manager wasn't even the one conducting the interviews (just a lower-level manager would do it b/c the hiring manager was too busy). So would you send it to the manager that interviewed you even though they don't make the final decision? Or send it to the hiring manager even though they don't even know who you are? I know its a lot of questions but I'm really stumped. I'm a student and I've worked in the past but I've never gotten a job after interviewing before (and yes I read all the tips on websites so I know what to do). Don't get me wrong, I've had very high-paying temp work but I was always hired by people who I didn't even speak to until to the day i went to work. Thanks for any help :)
AbbyHintz AbbyHintz 8 years
For what it's worth, I'm in technology. *I* am in technology, but the HR people at my company are HR people, and they prefer handwritten notes. Send both.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I certainly conserve where I can--I get electronic bills, recycle, reuse bags, compost, etc, etc--but I think there's absolutely no replacement for a handwritten note on a pretty (recycled) paper card.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
Well, that's the whole point email disappears into the ether; it's more green and there's no waste. I switched all my bills to electronic for the exact same reason.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
All pretty obvious...
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
You can also gauge which method is more appropriate for the particular position for which you're applying. If your previous contact has been strictly through e-mail, which is often the case now, an e-mail thank you note is probably appropriate. If you sent your resume via e-mail, but have been contacting/contacted by the organization through phone, you will probably want to look at the type of organization to which you're applying? Is it a traditional law firm? Hand write a note. Is it a cutting edge PR firm? An e-mail note is probably more appropriate. It's all about tailoring the thank you note to your specific situation. In cases where you're just not sure, I think Modus' suggestion is good. Go home and draft a quick e-mail on your computer, then send a handwritten note the next day.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I usually send both, tbh. I shoot a quick email when I get home and send out a longer handwritten note the same day.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
A note gets recycled, while an email gets...what? Archived to be cherished forever?
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
in technology...a handwritten note is overkill. Some people think it's antiquated. I like it, but many do not see the point and would prefer an email that can be saved, referenced and forwarded if needed. A hand written note, while charming, often gets thrown away or recycled.
AbbyHintz AbbyHintz 8 years
I am happy to receive any thank you note -- email or handwritten -- but I work with many people who think that an email note is not sufficient. Many people want to receive handwritten thank you note. Some simple things that aren't here are to study and to have a vision for your future. You can often get an agenda that includes the names of the people you will meet -- it can help if you know their background before meeting them.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
A handwritten note is not overkill.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
***the end is supposed to be "got OFFERED the position."
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
The thank you note gene is something that I inherited from my family. We send thank you notes for (no matter how small!), time spent, parties hosted, lunch dates, taking time to call, etc, so for me it was a no brainer to send a thank you note! (Although there were a few positions that I interviewed for and really didn't like the people--wouldn't be able to stand working with them--and, rather rudely, did not send a thank you note. I wasn't offered those positions. All of interviews that I sent a thank you note I eventually got the position!) :-)
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I don't know if a "thank you" note is an apt term...but if you are interested in a position, definitely send a thank you email expressing interest, thanking people for their time and inquiring about next steps. A hand written note is nice, but might be a little overkill. Sending an email from your iPhone or Blackberry can be seen as flippant and there are too many opportunities for typos. An email the next day works best.
AnnaLove AnnaLove 8 years
Savvy - Could you help us out with the thank-you note part?? I've never heard of that!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
When I first entered the job-interview world, I didn't know about sending thank-you letters, but I learned about them pretty quickly. I can't believe that people would act bored during an interview or dress inappropriately for one. Some things are just common sense.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I think a thank-you note is probably the biggest unknown/most forgotten thing. I tell everyone I know to send a thank you note, and half the time they're like, "Really?" But again, if you start to read these types of articles, it's something you see over and over.
taylor350 taylor350 8 years
I wouldn't have thought of a thank-you note...
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
The thing is, I think anyone interested enough to read something about how to do well in an interview probably wouldn't do these things.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Exactly! With some of the other ones, like shutting off your phone or writing a thank you note, I could see how someone could accidentally mess up, but I feel it would be because he forgot (to shut off his phone, etc.) not because he didn't know.
syako syako 8 years
I know Kim. Who acts bored in an interview?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I think all of these are pretty obvious. I can't believe that some people actually do these things.
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