As many of you may know last year I found myself a "victim" of downsizing. In April of last year I was laid off after 22 years of working for the same company. I was lucky! I had a good severance package and of course unemployment.


As I searched and searched for a job and filled out application after application and sent resume after resume, I began to truly appreciate having a job. I think so many of us take our jobs for granted and think they'll always be there when in reality employment is very fluid in this day and age. If you're lucky enough to have a job, cherish it. Also remember that every job has its good points and bad points but it truly is what you make of it. Your employer doesn't "owe" you anything, you provide a full days work and they pay you for it. Anything above and beyond that is truly a gift. It took me being unemployed to really see that.


I recently had a job interview that I acquired with the help of a recruiter. I've never actually worked with a recruiter before but he was quite helpful in providing some information that I really hadn't ever thought about. He provided me with a list of the 50 worst of the worst (most common) job interview mistakes. As I looked at the list I was amazed at the things on it. I thought some of them were just common sense items that you never do when interviewing for a job but if a list had to be made I guess I thought wrong. I wanted to take this time to share the list with you in case you too may be seeking employment.


So what are they.......they are: 


  1. Arriving late (really!)
  2. Arriving too early (15 minutes is the "rule")
  3. Lighting up a cigarette, or smelling like a cigarette
  4. Bad-mouthing your last boss
  5. Lying about your skills/experience knowledge
  6. Wearing the wrong (for this workplace) clothes
  7. Forgetting the name of the person you're interviewing with
  8. Wearing a ton of perfume or aftershave
  9. Wearing sunglasses
  10. Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece
  11. Failing to research the employer in advance
  12. Failing to demonstrate enthusiasm
  13. Inquiring about benefits too soon
  14. Talking about salary requirements too soon
  15. Being unable to explain how your strengths and abilities apply to the job in question
  16. Failing to make a strong case for why you are the best person for this job
  17. Forgetting to bring a copy of your resume and/or portfolio
  18. Failing to remember what you wrote on your resume
  19. Asking too many questions
  20. Asking no questions at all
  21. Being unprepared to answer the standard questions
  22. Failing to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying
  23. Talking more than half the time
  24. Interrupting your interviewer
  25. Neglecting to match the communication style of your interviewer
  26. Yawning
  27. Slouching
  28. Bringing along a friend, or your mother
  29. Chewing gum, tobacco, your pen, your hair
  30. Laughing, giggling, whistling, humming, lip-smacking
  31. Saying "you know," "like," "I guess," and "um"
  32. Name-dropping or bragging or sounding like a know-it-all
  33. Asking to use the bathroom
  34. Being falsely or exaggeratedly modest
  35. Shaking hands too weakly, or too firmly
  36. Failing to make eye contact (or making continuous eye contact)
  37. Taking a seat before your interviewer does
  38. Becoming angry or defensive
  39. Complaining that you were kept waiting
  40. Complaining about anything
  41. Speaking rudely to the receptionist
  42. Letting your nervousness show
  43. Overexplaining why you lost your last job
  44. Being too familiar and jokey
  45. Sounding desperate
  46. Checking the time
  47. Oversharing
  48. Sounding rehearsed
  49. Leaving your cell phone on
  50. Failing to ask for the job


Wow! Again, most of these I thought were common sense. I find the second half of the list much more offensive than the first half. If you're guilty of any of these then you probably need to rethink your interviewing skills. Some of the items you have to use your best judgement especially where to draw the line at too little or too much. And remember, your resume and cover letter are what got you the interview but your personality and enthusiasm are what get you the job. It's really all up to you!


My advice, don't give up, have a well written resume that includes your accomplishments, network, and of course....pray.  

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