Top 3 Interview Sins

InterviewSins_Second_August2013_webLanding an interview can thrill and chill you at the same time. It’s your gateway to landing the job and moving forward with your employment goals. But there is no doubt that the high pressure of the situation can cause stress and bring out some unsightly behavior.

Express Employment Professionals employs more than 365,000 people annually, and interviews people regularly. In a recent survey, Express investigated the biggest faux pas about interviewing and uncovered the top interview misgivings. Here are the three biggest interview sins:

  1. Lying about your experience.
    Naturally, you want to present yourself as the best and most qualified candidate for the job. But are you really? Lying about your experience is dangerous for many reasons. Employers are looking for ethical and trustworthy employees. Once your lie is discovered, your character will be damaged, not only for that job opportunity, but word can spread among reference networks for future job opportunities. More than that, your safety, or those of your co-workers, could be at risk. If for some reason you are able to land a job and you don’t actually have the knowledge you proclaimed to have, your mistakes could result in injuries or create serious shortcomings within the business.Be honest about your qualifications and experience. If you’re asked to detail the experiences, tell the truth. You can also ask for examples from the interviewer on what the expectations are for the position. By asking questions and gaining a better understanding of the job description, you’ll be able to determine if your qualifications are a match.
  2. Arriving late.
    If a company is interviewing, they’ve got a talent shortage and business is busy. Interviewing is one more thing on a packed to-do list and being late can be unforgivable. Obviously, there can be circumstances beyond your control that can make you late, but try to think of everything and prepare to be on time. You may even want to make a trip to your interview destination the day before to estimate exactly how long it will take to get there. This allows you to determine what bus or train to take, or even where you’ll need to park. You’ll be stressed enough the day of your interview, so eliminate worrying about these matters by easily addressing them in advance.Just like being late is a frustration, being early can be seen as annoying. The interviewer probably can’t see you until your appointment time and there may not be a good place for you to wait. With full schedules, and possibly back-to-back interviews, the best advice is to get there 10 to 15 minutes early. If you find yourself earlier than that just hang back and don’t check in until closer to your set time.
  3. Answering a phone call.
    Your interview is important, and it’s crucial that you treat that time with respect. This means not answering your phone during your interview, which was number three on our list. Beyond answering the phone, the sixth interview faux pas on our list was checking your phone. If there is someone who may need to reach you, let them know about your interview. Give them the name of the person you are meeting with, the company name, and the phone number, as well as the date and time of the interview. If there is a true emergency, they can contact the company you are interviewing with, this way you won’t feel the need to answer or check your phone.And even if you don’t plan to answer it, make sure you’ve turned it on silent and off vibrate, you don’t need the noise distracting you. You can even leave your phone in your car or keep it out of reach during the interview so you aren’t tempted to pick it up.

Check out our post on the 7 Must Do’s Before Interviews to help prepare you to do your very best. Be honest, be on time, and keep that phone turned off, and you’ll be well on your way to impressing your interviewer.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in an interview? Share your story in the comments section below.


  1. Brent

    Anyone who NEEDS to be told not to arrive late for an interview or answer a phone while on one, is completely undeserving of a job.

    1. Jon Schwarzmiller

      I agree with you, but keep in mind a lot of people are young and phones are 2nd nature to them. It’s just a good reminder, what if you left your cell phone on during an interview by accident? You wouldn’t answer it but it still would be embarrassing. I think it’s a good reminder.

    2. Joel Zak

      Just my 2 cents and i mean this in the nicest way possible . Some folks are late or wear too much perfume or cologne . That does not mean they do not deserve it . They are worth it and in my opinion people should lift each other up not knock them down . You do deserve to address people more positively and uplifting . I hope you learn that on your journey sooner than later

  2. Carla B

    Those three tips are obvious. You would have to be obtuse to lie about your experience, show up late, or answer your phone.

    I submit that a good preparation for an interview is to write down highlights of your last job, something you accomplished that is praiseworthy, and how you resolved problems (specifically).

    A mistake I’ve made in interviews is not relating the level of decision-making and judgments required of me. It’s the one place you should brag a bit about yourself.

    Of course, don’t lie, it will be found out, and of course, be on time, and leave your phone in the car. But more to the point, prepare yourself. You don’t want a job at which you will fail because you lack the experience to perform.

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  6. Joel Zak

    I am 40 years old and been interviewed less than 5 times in my life . Mainly because my work ethic has opened doors of opportunity for me or other words employers see me work and seek me out . I am going into this interview confident in my abilities to perform any job i applied for . That confidence and common sense will get me any job i seek. That may not be how it works out nonetheless i remain confident and positive . That is my advise to anyone getting ready for interview . Just my 2 cents if being late or wearing too much cologne or talking too much is being brought up its probably because people have done these things . If you happen to be one of these people do not be discouraged never give up , you do deserve a job STAY POSITIVE AND NEVER STOP BELIEVING IN YOURSELF . YOU ARE WORTH IT !!!!!!

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