Interviewing Basics: Things You Must NOT Do During the Interview

Steven Cesare, Ph.D.

This posting is follow-up to that which was shared last week based on a fruitful conversation I had with a landscaper from South Carolina.  While that previous posting presented a basic list of essential actions that an interviewer must do when interviewing a job applicant, this presentation shares the obverse list: Actions an interviewer must NOT do during a job interview. 

To reiterate my point from last week, it is my professional opinion and personal preference to be periodically reminded of some basic elements that may dictate a successful interview experience from one which may be deemed unsuccessful.

  • Show up late.
  • Be unprepared.
  • Ask illegal questions.
  • Call the candidate the wrong name.
  • Anticipate the candidate will get the job simply because s/he has a good resume or job application.
  • Be unable to state the company’s mission statement or core values, when asked by the candidate.
  • Say anything negative about any employee, competitors, or other candidates.
  • Write notes on the candidate’s resume or job application.
  • Answer a cell phone call, send a text message, or read an email message.
  • Use foul language.
  • Fail to ask the candidate if s/he has any questions to ask.
  • Be unprofessional, disinterested, or condescending.
  • Make a value judgment on any single response given by the candidate.
  • Talk too much.
  • Hurry through the interview to get it done.
  • Lie or stretch the truth.
  • Make a job offer to the candidate on the spot.
  • Comment on the candidate’s appearance.
  • Try to be funny.
  • Think of the interview as a game of “gotcha.”
  • Make an employment decision after the candidate’s first couple of responses to questions.
  • Commit interviewer errors (e.g., halo, contrast effect, negative information, idealized candidate).
  • Demonstrate poor listening skills.
  • Look at your watch repeatedly.
  • Forget to say “thank you” at the end of the interview.

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Steve Cesare Ph.D.

has more than 25 years of Human Resources experience. Prior to joining The Harvest Group, Steve worked with Bemus Landscape, Jack in the Box, the County of San Diego, Citicorp, and NASA. Steve earned his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Old Dominion University, and has authored 68 human resources journal articles. As a member of The Harvest Group, Steve’s areas of expertise include: staffing, legal compliance, wage and hour issues, training, and employee safety.  Read Steve's full bio.