An Interview Horror Story: 10 Scare Tactics to Ruin a Job Interview
For job seekers and hiring managers alike, there’s nothing more terrifying than having an unforgettable interview…and not the good kind.
Don’t get me wrong interviews can certainly be uncomfortable, but typically they are conversational and educational. They help you, the job seeker, and the hiring manager get to know one another to determine if the company and role is the right fit for both parties.
More often than not, interviews run smoothly with little hiccups, but on rare occasions they can go horribly wrong. Believe it or not, most hiring managers (including us) have experienced painful interviews.
We’ve heard interview horror stories that you thought you would only see in the movies play themselves out in real life, and we don’t want you to repeat those same mistakes.
In the spirit of Halloween, avoid these 10 interview mistakes that could end up costing you the job.
1. You Ghosted
You never showed up for your interview, and worse, you never called to cancel. This is extremely unprofessional and an easy way to burn bridges. And believe it or not, it happens more often than it should.
If for some reason you can’t make an interview or have already accepted another position, you should ALWAYS call…not email, but call the hiring manager. It may be scary and intimidating but is the right and respectful thing to do.
2. Cat Got Your Tongue
It is one thing if you don’t have your own questions to ask the hiring manager, but it’s another if you are completely unprepared and unable to answer their questions.
Before interviewing, always do your homework on the company, role, and the people you are meeting with. You should be able to directly and effectively answer the questions.
3. You Wore a Costume
Rule of thumb, always wear professional attire. Even if the company has a casual dress code, you are not a part of the company yet and should dress to impress. Unless you are told that you should dress casual, always assume suit and tie or skirt and blouse.
Also, make sure your outfit is not a distraction. There is no need to wear your Daffy Duck tie or zebra-striped tights on the first interview. Let your sense of humor show in the conversation and not in your attire.
You actually had a pretty great first interview and the hiring manager wanted to bring you in for another to meet more team members…but you never followed up.
You never sent your thank you emails and you never called the hiring manager back. You made them believe that you were genuinely interested in the opportunity, but when they reached back out you never responded.
Remember to always follow through and keep honest dialogue with potential employers.
5. You Made Your Current Employer Sound like Dracula
No matter the reasons you’re looking for a new job, you should never bash your former or current employer. Don’t tell the hiring manager that your former manager basically sucked the life out of you and that you hated your job.
Even if this is true, it will signal a red flag to the hiring manager you’re interviewing with. If you talk this badly about the management at your former/current company, it’s a possibility you could also trash talk your next employer.
6. You Spun a Web of Lies
You lied on your resume about where you worked and when you worked there.
Never lie on a resume or in an interview, even if you think it’s a white lie. It will always come back to haunt you. Be honest and up front. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile match and never lie about where you worked or for how long.
When you are going in for an interview, you should always be positive, friendly, and engaged. The interview is where the hiring manager not only asks questions about your work experience, but they also want to see if you would be a culture fit for the company.
Make sure you are well-rested and remember to eat and hydrate before the interview. If you drink coffee, have it before the interview and don’t bring it in with you. If the interviewer offers you coffee or water don’t be afraid to accept it. I always recommend having a power bar or granola bar in your car in case you need an energy boost before interviewing. Be ready to knock the interview out of the park.
Make sure you practice going through your story and that you don’t have any inconsistencies. Make sure you can effectively answer questions, address and overcome any concerns, and explain any gaps in your resume. The best approach is to practice and always be direct and honest.
For more interview tips, watch this video on How to Prepare for a Sales Interview.