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Less Common Interview Mistakes

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InterviewI’ve been doing a lot of research on job searches and interviews. I’ve read dozens of online articles containing advice for both interviewers and interviewees.

For the most part, they all contain the same advice — dress properly, prepare answers to common questions, eat beforehand but not too soon beforehand.

But some interview advice surprised me, just because I never thought anyone would be so dumb.

Do not use your cell phone. Apparently, someone somewhere actually answered their cell phone during an interview. This is probably the same idiot who answers their phone on a first date. Don’t (in both cases)! Turn off your cell phone before you arrive at the interview, and don’t turn it on again until after you leave. During your interview, there is nothing in the world more important than that interview.

Don’t take things off the interviewer’s desk. Don’t “borrow” items like pens from off the desk. Don’t take candy from a bowl unless it’s specifically offered. The stuff on that desk is not yours.

Keep your private life private. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear about your spouse’s inverted colon, or your mom’s lawsuit, or that manipulative woman your son is dating. If something in your private life may affect your work, you might want to be up front about it — but in generalities only, please.

Don’t ask to use the phone. This isn’t a friend’s house, it’s a job interview. Leave the interview location, and go find a pay phone. Prepare an explanation of why, in this day and age, you don’t have a cell phone. Even the Amish have cell phones now. I’m not kidding.

And finally, one piece of advice for interviewers: Don’t play games. Some overpaid HR consultant might have told you to be “creative” in the interview — pretend to be asleep, convince the interviewee they got your name wrong, stage some kind of altercation. These stunts are supposed to tell you something about the applicant. They won’t. They just tell the applicant that you’re a jerk. Respect the interviewee’s time (and your own), and stick to normal conversation.

Got any good (but unusual) advice for interviewers or -ees? Leave a comment!

Less Common Interview Mistakes by
Authored by: Erik Even