Five things that can ruin your job interview and how to fix them

You know that old saying ‘first impressions count’, well when you’re being interviewed for a new job, any new job, you only have a short window to make it or break it.

Studies have shown that takes just eight minutes for a potential employer to make a positive or negative judgement in an interview. That’s not a lot of time but if you can be on your game, it can make all the difference.

Psychologist Donna Dawson, a specialist in personality and behaviour, says that it’s the little things you do that can make a difference when preparing for a job interview; if you’re going for your first job, it’s doubly important.

‘How you conduct yourself during an interview can make all the difference. Remember that you are being sized up by a stranger in a matter of minutes — what may not seem important to you, can be very important to a prospective employer,’ says Dawson.

So what are the sorts of things that put people off when interviewing someone?

1 Having a potty mouth

It doesn’t matter what type of job you’re being interviewed for, swearing is the ultimate no-no. A study by AXA UK found that almost half all employers surveyed saying that a candidate cursing would put them off offering a job.

It’s an easy thing to address; just don’t swear, even if your interviewer lets a naughty word slip.

2 Looking scruffy

This seems like a no-brainer, but if you turn up to an interview looking like you just got out of bed, the chances are you’re not going to make a good impression. While that pizza stain on your shirt could be considered a badge of honour, it’s not going to carry any weight in the corporate world.

Make a special effort to be clean, tidy and appropriately dressed as this shows respect not only for yourself but for the company you are applying to.

3 Being underprepared

It’s not unreasonable for an employer to expect that you would have some knowledge of both the company and industry. Surprisingly though, a lot of people apply for jobs without really doing the required research. In the eyes of a prospective employer, this is a huge no-no, particularly as it’s something that can easily be addressed prior to you coming in.

This is another easy thing to fix. The world is at your fingertips so spend some time researching the company, the industry they work in and even the type of role you’ve applied for. An extra hour or so spent can go a long way to making a huge impression.

4 Lack of eye contact

Our eyes say a lot more than our words ever can. Research shows that failing to make eye contact can make you seem aloof and disinterested. When you’re being interviewed, making eye contact shows that you’re interested in and understand what is being said while making you appear confident and trustworthy.

5 Not smiling

Seems fair enough doesn’t it? Who wants to talk to a sourpuss for an hour? Smiling is a natural part of any conversation, so going through a job interview, no matter how nervous you might be, makes you seem stand-offish or negative. Smiling is contagious; it puts people at ease and creates a pleasant environment. Have you ever noticed that you feel happier when other people are smiling? It’s because most of us mimic a smile when we see one and sends signals to our brain that promotes a feeling of warmth and joy. An employer will remember a smiling, cheerful candidate far more than a negative one.