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Sure Signs You Flunked the Job Interview

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/15/2011

Whether you're fresh out of college or looking for a career change, if you do get an interview, how do you determine if the employer or interviewer was impressed? There are interview mistakes many make these days and if you can’t seem to land a job, perhaps you’ve noticed one of these signs.

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    If You Can’t Land a Job

    Great Job Interviews There are bad interview signs most of us should be able to understand and spot right away. On the other side of the coin, some job candidates come across as only being concerned with their own life and the career they want (and expect to get).

    Before you jump into your next interview, try not to make one of these top ten mistakes.

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    1. What Can You Do for Me?

    If you step into the interview and right off ask about benefits, vacation, sick or personal days before you’ve been even asked one question, you won’t impress the interviewer. They want to know about your skills first and what you can offer to the company so never ask about salary and promotions as soon as you walk through the door.

    Once you are given the chance to ask these sorts of questions, don’t tell the interviewer how the guy down the street is offering more. Just take notes, or ask for a pre-employment package describing the company policies on these issues and stay quiet about who is offering what out there.

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    2. Sad Sap

    No one likes a sad sap or a complainer. If you’ve been on the hunt for a job for a while now, don’t tell the interviewer no one will hire you and start offering up reasons why you’ve been turned down. This is a new interview and your chance to engage the employer and impress them. If you complain, you won’t get the job.

    Instead, be positive about the possible job and emphasize how much of an asset you’ll be if hired.

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    3. I Need Time Off

    Don't be a Complainer As a business owner, this has to be my most unflavored job interviewee. As soon as they’re seated comfortable, they tell me right off their cousin across the country is getting married and they’ll need at least two weeks off in a very short time (meaning if I hire them, they’ll need time off). I’m not impressed with you telling me this and remember, you need a job so you may have to miss that wedding.

    Even if you offer to take the time off without pay (which I wouldn’t offer anyway), I will be investing money in you to train you so yep—that pre-planned vacation is a skip or you’re sure to lose my interest.

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    4. Being Vague

    Another bad interview sign is when I ask you a specific question and you are either unprepared or can’t answer the question—or perhaps you’re just vague, such as “Hmm…that’s a good question." I know it’s a great question or I wouldn’t be asking you.

    Go through some role-playing with a friend or family member about possible job interview questions and be prepared to answer them fully and with confidence.

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    5. Face Tattoos and Piercings

    I’m not saying people don’t have the right to tattoo their bodies in conspicuous areas or hang rings on their face, but I really don’t need to see them in the interview. Take the rings and balls out and use some opaque makeup to cover up the tattoos. Sure let me know you have them, but tell me you’re willing to keep up a professional appearance at work.

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    6. Being Unkempt

    Dress for Success If you show up in a wrinkled blouse, shirt, slacks or skirt, why sort of image do you think you are presenting? Don’t know? It’s a bad one. If you can’t show up to an interview in professional attire, don’t you think I’ll think you’ll show up that way once hired? You bet.

    Make sure nails and hair are groomed and don’t overdue on the makeup or cologne.

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    7. But I Forgot!

    You may have so many interviews scheduled you can’t remember my name or the company name where you’re applying. Keep a record of where you have interviews with exact times and arrive early, not late.

    Please remember my name and use it and talk about why my company is so interesting to you.

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    8. No References

    Please never tell me you’ll email or fax your references as soon as you get home. Be prepared to offer them at the interview because I will contact them and inquire about you. If I get them way after the interview, I’m not interested.

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    9. Certifications

    Awards and Certifications Do bring extra copies of your resume and any certifications you received (not originals) because I want to keep them to help me further determine if you’re the right fit. If I have to wait for what you promise you have, again, I’m not interested. Also skip the fancy colored paper for your resume, it’s unprofessional.

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    10. Job Application

    Sure, you handed me your resume and I’ve handed you my company’s job application. Don’t tell me, “It’s all there on my resume and this application is redundant." Really? What about that important statement at the end of the job application where you sign allowing me to run a background or credit check? Fill out the job application and sign it. I can’t find out about you if you don’t sign that acknowledgement so be sure you’ll be skipped on the job offering.

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    Getting It Right

    Get it Right Bright Hub offers many instructional articles in our Career Channel so browse some of these must-have tips and read the article 10 Tips on How to Nail a Job Interview.

    It’s your job search so make sure you handle it correctly or you’ll really understand the gist of bad job signs in any interview. Be professional, prepare, and don’t tell me what I need to do for you—you need to impress me so keep that in mind in any job interview you are asked to attend.

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    The author has been a business owner for over 17 years and has interviewed and employed many people.

    Image Credits:

    Meeting - MorgueFile/mconnors

    Hide Face - MorgueFile/hotblack

    CanadaMike - MorgueFile/bboomerindenial

    Misc Award - MorgueFile/dave

    Ticks - MorgueFile/Alvinmann