9 Job Interview Red Flags That Scare Any Hiring Manager
Every job interview goes a little differently, but there are some serious job interview red flags that will scare off any hiring manager.
While there’s no way you can guarantee that your job interview will go according to plan, knowing these nine job interview red flags will help you avoid serious interview mistakes that will prevent you from getting hired.
Job Interview Red Flag #1: Arriving Even a Little Late
Arriving even a little late is a definitely no-no when it comes to a job interview. Give yourself plenty of time to plan out your journey to the location of your interview, ideally a day or two in advance of the actual meeting with the hiring manager.
If you’re not familiar with the destination, check how you’ll get there using Google Maps or another reliable map app. Write down the directions on your phone or a piece of paper, and then make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there.
It’s also a good idea to account for things that could go wrong, such as accidentally missing your bus or traffic congestion. Plan to get to your job interview fifteen minutes early, no matter what happens!
Job Interview Red Flag #2: Arriving Way Too Early
It may surprise you to learn that arriving way too early for a job interview is another red flag for hiring managers. Being extremely early may make you look desperate, or worse, inconvenience the hiring manager before your interview even starts.
If you happen to accidentally get to the job interview more than 15 minutes early, take advantage of your free time. Take a quick walk around the block or grab a cup of tea, do a little meditation, review your resume, and relax.
Job Interview Red Flag #3: Being Unprepared
In most cases, a hiring manager can tell if a candidate is unprepared to meet with them for a job interview. Your best bet is to simply do the best that you can to prepare beforehand.
Print out a list of typical job interview questions that you expect the hiring manager to ask you, and then ask a friend or family member to quiz you with them. It might help to make notes to help you remember your best answers to the questions for your actual interview.
Being prepared for the hiring manager’s job interview questions will help you answer their questions confidently and completely.
Bringing some things into your job interview will also make you look more prepared to a hiring manager. When you’re getting ready for your job interview, remember to bring:
Copy of your resume and cover letter
List of references and their contact information
Professional-looking notebook and pen
Portfolio, if necessary
Job Interview Red Flag #4: Forgetting the Hiring Manager’s Name
Don’t forget the hiring manager’s name during the job interview!
If you’re not very good at remembering names, write their name down in your notes beforehand, and then bring your notes into the actual job interview if you need to. When you meet them in-person, after they introduce themselves to you, repeat their name out loud again.
Job Interview Red Flag #5: Interrupting the Hiring Manager
Many people interrupt other people when they feel nervous or excited, two feelings that are very common during job interviews. However, it’s super important that you avoid interrupting the hiring manager when they’re speaking, regardless of how you’re feeling.
The easiest way to avoid interrupting other people is to be conscious of the bad habit ahead of time. But if you know that you’ll be overly nervous or excited during the job interview, one trick that helps is to pause and take a calming breath before you answer any question.
Job Interview Red Flag #6: Getting Too Personal With the Hiring Manager
If you can create a happy rapport with the hiring manager, that’s great, but getting too personal or informal with the hiring manager can be a major red flag if you’re not careful.
Even if you’re a naturally outgoing and friendly person, you should still stay professional, polite, and relatively formal. Remember, the hiring manager may be your boss in the future, so it’s best to always remain respectful.
If you can, avoid discussing topics that may be too personal and don’t ask intrusive questions, no matter how comfortable you happen to feel with the hiring manager.
Job Interview Red Flag #7: Stopping the Interview Ahead of Time
Sometimes a job interview will go longer than you expect, but it’s important to schedule your time so that you can stay for the entire interview without cutting it short.
Leaving your job interview early could leave the hiring manager thinking that you don’t know how to plan your time wisely or that you’re too busy for them, two poor first impressions that you want to avoid when you’re trying to get a job.
Job Interview Red Flag #8: Being Distracted
Your complete attention should be on the hiring manager at all times… so turn your cell phone off!
Job Interview Red Flag #9: Not Asking Any Questions
Asking smart, thoughtful questions after the job interview finishes makes you look prepared, engaged, and competent, which are all characteristics that you want to impart when you’re meeting a hiring manager.
It’s helpful to prepare a few general questions before you walk into your job interview, just in case you get flustered during your job interview. Some questions you could ask the hiring manager include:
How do you feel I could contribute to the company culture?
Could I help out with the company’s charitable work?
When can I expect to hear back from you?
Your resume and cover letter are the foundation that you need to ace your job interview.