Spycatcher

An ex-FBI agent on deception, espionage, interrogation, and reading people.

Job Interviews—Things to Avoid

Candid comments from HR departments

Frequently I get to spend time with HR personnel while conducting training seminars. We discuss best practices, but invariably the conversation turns to the kinds of things that are job killers. Things that are sometimes odd or rude that will derail their prospects for a job. There are lessons here for all of us: anyone applying for a job or going for an interview. Here are forty examples, in no particular order, of things that for the various HR departments caused them to laugh, pause and shake their heads or said lets pass on this individual: 

1.     Try to remember at least the name of the company where you are applying – what the company actually does might also be helpful.

2.     Bring something to write with.

3.     Bring something to write on and don’t take stationary from the interviewer’s desk.

4.     Don’t call your interviewer “Dude,” not all of them are fond of that appellation.

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5.     Don’t flirt with or try to seduce your interviewer while he or she is reading your resume.

6.      Don’t wink at your interviewer or give a seductive arch of the eyebrow as she drinks from her water bottle.

7.      Don’t smile with the pinky finger to the mouth and the thumb to the ear and say, “Call me,” as you are leaving for the last time – the very last time.

8.     Men, don’t grab your crotch repeatedly – you’re not Michael Jackson.

9.     Don’t bring your rodent sized dog to an interview; you are not a Hilton heiress.

10.  Don’t wear perfume – your favorite is not everyone’s favorite.

11.  Your ears should not have so many earrings that they beg for a curtain rod.

12.  Similarly, your ears should not have so many holes they look like a showerhead.

13.  Don’t talk about your boyfriend or girlfriend or the party you attended last night.

14.  Don’t brag about how much you can drink nor how much you like to drink.

15.  If you reach into your purse, the interviewer should not be able to see your Smith & Wesson Model 60 five shot – license or no license.

16.  Try to remember to bring your driver license or other photo ID and definitely your social security card.

17.   You cannot call “Mom” or "Daddy" to see if what you are being offered is a good deal. They expect you to think on your own.

18.  Your clothes should not reek of sweat nor look like you slept in them.

19.  Hide the tattoos, many companies (finance, medicine, insurance, public service, etc.) don’t want to see them and no you are not Angelina Jolie.

20.  Your makeup should not compete with Barnum and Bailey performers.

21.  A 10 a.m. interview means you are there at 9:40 a.m., not 10:22.

22.  Your breath should not curdle milk.

23.  When you exhale no one wants to smell the last few cigarettes you had.

24.  Your hairdo should not be a nesting place for a cardinal bird.

25.  To the question, “Do you know what we do here?,” do not answer, “No, not really.”

26.  Don’t use paperclips to clean out your ears while waiting.

27.  Don’t clip your nails in front of others.

28.  The noise from your gum chewing should not dominate the room.

29.  Don’t put your coffee on top of the interviewer’s new book.

30.  Floss in private; it should not be a shared event.

31.  Your fingernails should not be mistaken for talons.

32.  Keep your eyes on the interviewer - you are not an art critic admiring the décor of the room.

33.  Don’t show up for a $60K a year job with a backpack you’ve used since you were a freshman in college with sewn on patches.

34.  Don’t say you know how to work with Powerpoint but then have to hunt for how to add text to your first slide.

35.  Don’t tell jokes - they rarely work.

36.  These excuses don’t work well to postpone the interview or to expedite it: “I have a date,” “Parking is expensive,” “My boyfriend is in a hurry,” “I’m getting my nails done in an hour.”

37.  When asked to give three examples of something exemplary you have done, try not to cry.

38.   Don’t expect to be called back when after you leave the police stop by to inquire as to what you were doing there.

39.  Bedroom slippers, even for a receptionist position are contraindicated.

40.  Try not to bring your mother to the interview and if she does come, she has to wait outside. She cannot answer your questions.

What can I say, some, like the last one you knew were inevitable. And please don’t shoot the messenger, I am merely conveying. If you want further insight from the HR folks, read this article by Paul Davidson in USA Today or this from CBS.

                                                * * *      * * *      * * *

Joe Navarro, M.A. is 25 year veteran of the FBI and is the author of What Every Body is Saying, as well as Louder Than Words. For additional information and a free bibliography please contact him through www.jnforensics.com or follow on twitter: @navarrotells or on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Navarro/236255193080893; or here in Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher

Copyright © 2013 Joe Navarro

 

Joe Navarro is a former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and is the author of What Every Body is Saying. He is an expert on nonverbal communications and body language.

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