9 Things You Should Never Do at a Job Interview

While you may know the basics of preparing for a job interview, are you aware of all the things you shouldn’t do when attending one? Find out here!

Updated 25 Jun 2019

9 Things You Should Never Do at a Job Interview - Feature-Image

Congratulations on scoring a job interview! After working hard to tailor your CV and craft company-specific cover letters, you finally have a foot in the door to blessed employment.

However, the battle isn’t over yet. While you may know the basics of knowing what to bring to a job interview, it’s also important to know what you should and should never do at a job interview. Read on to become the best interviewee in the room!

#1. Missing the interview

Things you should not do at a job interview - 1 Missing the interview

So you’ve secured a job interview but suddenly have cold feet about it.

“I’m not prepared. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve done more research and realised the company isn’t what I really want. The company’s location requires an alarmingly long commute.”

Not to worry, those are perfectly valid reasons and you have a right to decline the job interview if you have yet to accept it. However, do not ignore the email and leave the employer in the dark about your decision. While it’s tempting to leave the email sitting in your inbox and pretend it doesn’t exist, it’s essential to respond quickly to the employer’s invitation.

Why bother? Not only is it common courtesy, but it will also show your professionalism and ensure that you don’t burn any bridges with the employer should you want to apply there again in future. On top of that, some job search websites allow employers to tag interviewees who don’t attend their interview as a “no-show” — this tag would be attached to your account and can be viewed by other employers on the job search site, ruining your credibility.

#2. Walking in late

Things you should not do at a job interview - 2 Walking in late

If your interview is set for 11am, make it a point to arrive 10 minutes earlier. Those 10 minutes will give you time to calm any nerves, as well as a chance to survey the surroundings at your potential place of employment. It goes without saying that you will give your interviewer a good impression while exuding that magic word again: professionalism.

Remember to never, ever stride in late or you risk displeasing your interviewers and setting a bad impression almost immediately.

#3. Bringing your parent

Things you should not do at a job interview - 3 Bringing your parent

Attending your very first job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, but that doesn’t mean you need to bring your parent along to the interview!

We know that it may not be entirely your fault. After all, there are some parents who hover over their child incessantly and take too much responsibility for their successes and failures (termed helicopter parenting). Given this inclination, they may want to tag along for the interview.

To avoid this, try to reason with them and explain that you’re perfectly capable of acing the interview yourself. And if they still insist, suggest that they wait for you at a cafe nearby. This way, they can still be near the action without harming your chances of landing the job.

#4. Chewing gum

Things you should not do at a job interview - 4 Chewing gum (2)

Popping a breath mint or strip of chewing gum in your mouth before making your way to an interview is an excellent idea, but make sure you dispose of your gum before you enter the interview premises.

Just imagine how annoying it would be to your interviewer if they had to hear (and see) you chew gum while answering serious questions about your career!

#5. Swearing

Things you should not do at a job interview - 5 Swearing

“Oh #$@&%* I forgot my resume!”

Forgetting to bring something to your interview is bad but cursing is even worse — so leave the colourful language at home, kids. This includes relatively minor expressions like ‘damn’ and ‘heck’, in addition to eyebrow-raising four-letter curse words. Keep your language clean and professional.

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#6. Leaving your phone on

Things you should not do at a job interview - 4 Chewing gum

While it’s fine to have your phone on while you’re out with your friends, you shouldn’t do the same during a job interview. Always switch off your phone as a mark of respect and to avoid it from interrupting the interview.

Plus, it would be really embarrassing if your phone started ringing or vibrating loudly like a purring cat while you’re explaining your achievements to your interviewer.

#7. Walking in with a drink in hand

Things you should not do at a job interview - 7 Walking in with a drink in hand

You know how you used to slip into class a few minutes late, Starbucks drink in hand? Well, no matter how thirsty you are, don’t try to pull that off during your interview — it will make you appear rude and nonchalant.

If you’re half an hour early and see a coffee shop near the interview location, you can go ahead and order a drink, but make a mental note to gulp down every drop, toss it in the bin and make your way to your interviewer, coffee-free.


If you know you’ll get thirsty on the way to the interview, slip a bottle of water into your bag — just don’t drink it during your interview.

#8. Asking irrelevant questions

Things you should not do at a job interview - 8 Asking irrelevant questions

While it’s okay to email your interviewer about the specifics of getting to the office if it’s at an obscure location, try not to continuously contact them asking unnecessary questions.

Here’s what we mean. Don’t text them saying you don’t have proper interview clothes and would like to know the best boutique for formal wear or ask them if you can have breakfast first before meeting them at the interview.

Instead, save your questions for the interview session itself and limit it to things that are strictly essential such as, “Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?” Just be sure not to ask about anything that has already been explained to you.

#9. Forgetting to bring copies of your resume

Things you should not do at a job interview - 9 Forgetting to bring copies of your resume

Your resume is in the hands of your interviewer, that’s for sure, but you can’t count on them to have a copy with them when they’re interviewing you.

It pays to be on the side of caution, so print 1-2 copies of your resume and have them handy in a professional-looking folder. This will give your future employer the impression that you are organised and that you are taking the interview seriously.

With these essential pointers in mind, you’re sure to wow the socks off your interviewer and be remembered as a candidate who knows what they’re doing! Trust us, the good impression you’ll make by not doing any of these common interview mistakes will greatly increase your chances of getting hired. All the best in your job hunt!

You’re all set to conquer your job interview now. Before you go, make sure you know how to answer these 10 make-or-break job interview questions.

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    Melissa Mazlan

    Melissa Mazlan

    Your friendly Klang representative who enjoys romantic walks to the fridge.