Want to have a better job interview? Avoid these 10 ‘off-putting’ behaviors

by Guest Author, Ashton Jackson

A job interview is arguably the most important part of the hiring process, as it can make or break your ability to snag the role. But there are a few deal breakers hiring managers want candidates to know.

According to a new survey from Paychex, there are several “off-putting” interviewee behaviors that can take someone out of the running for a job. The survey, which included data from over 200 hiring managers, found that their biggest pet peeve at 62% was “lack of preparation for the interview.”

“Lacking preparation and arriving late were the two most detrimental to an applicant’s chance of getting hired,” Paychex HR coach, Rachel Sweeney, tells CNBC Make It. “Do your research before the interview. Know some insights about the company that you are interviewing for and have questions prepared ahead of time to ask the hiring manager.”

Based on the survey, these are the top 10 interview pet peeves for hiring managers:

  1. Lack of preparation for the interview (62%)
  2. Arriving late to the interview (61%)
  3. Poor listening skills (56%)
  4. Speaking negatively about former employer or coworkers (42%)
  5. Inappropriate language (38%)
  6. Bragging (36%)
  7. Overconfidence (33%)
  8. Failing to ask questions (33%)
  9. Rambling (30%)
  10. Lack of eye contact (25%)

Though overconfidence is lower on the list, Sweeney says it’s still a huge deal breaker for some hiring managers. She advises candidates to take the opportunity to be genuine instead.

“Instead of telling hiring managers what you want to do, show them your accomplishments by providing examples. Also, embrace the ‘weakness’ question. This is an opportunity to show your authentic self.”

Sweeney also suggests job seekers take the time to work on making good eye contact.

“Eye contact is an important part of communication, especially when it comes to an interview. Making eye contact before speaking, holding your gaze for 4 to 5 seconds at a time, and using gestures are some of the tips interviewees can use to ensure they do not lack eye contact when it matters the most,” she suggests.

“Also, practice ahead of time. Utilize a site or program where you can record yourself and rehearse your interview answers. When you watch your recording, pay attention to your eye contact, gestures, tone and speed.”

There are also some characteristics about applicants that hiring managers consider “very important,” according to the survey. Ninety percent of hiring managers care about an applicant’s skill set. Compatibility with team (79%), personality (70%), and professional appearance (52%) are also desired characteristics.

Paychex explains that “professional appearance” may be more flexible now, as many workplaces have shifted their cultures due to the pandemic.

“This information comes amid a societal shift toward a more inclusive definition of what it means to look professional,” said Paychex’s HR team in the report. “Moreover, remote work has also heavily influenced our concept of professional appearance. With so many people working out of their private living spaces, a more casual style has become accepted in workplaces around the country.”

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About the author: Ashton Jackson is member of the NBCU Academy, and a writer for Make It’s Work Team focusing on DEI reporting. You can find her on Twitter at @ashtonlinnel.

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