What NOT to do in a Job Interview

If you’re currently looking for work in Toowoomba, chances are you’ve read a million blog posts (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration) on what to do at a job interview.

But all that “do this, do that” stuff can get rather overwhelming. So in this blog post, we thought we’d take the opposite approach. Rather than talking about what to do, we figured we’d talk about what not to do.

After all, sometimes it’s easier to remember the “don’ts” than the “dos”. And we find that when you get the “don’ts” right, the “dos” tend to take care of themselves.

So, without further ado (see what we did there?), let’s look at what NOT to do in a job interview.


It’s an obvious one, but it’s still worth mentioning don’t be late for your job interview.

If you’re running late for a job interview, it will set off all kinds of warning bells in your interviewers’ minds. They may think that you have a habit of running late (not an attractive trait in an employee), or they may interpret your tardiness as a lack of caring (also unattractive in an employee).

To avoid running late, consider setting your alarm clock half an hour earlier than necessary, scope out the parking or public transport situation in advance, and make sure your clothes and anything you need to bring are prepared and ready the night before.

(And if you are running late? Call ahead, apologise, and explain your new estimated time of arrival. This is polite, proactive, and may undo some – or even all – of the damage of a late arrival.)


A job interview is a professional meeting. So don’t turn up dressed in your tracky-dacks or singlet, shorts, and thongs.

Even if you’re being interviewed for a life saver position at the beach, a casual outfit is a no-go for a job interview. That said, we wouldn’t necessarily suggest turning up for that interview in a full suit, either. Which is why we’re suggesting you don’t dress too casually or too formally. Instead, consider the position you’re being interviewed for, and what the normal professional dress code for that position would be.

Dressing appropriately is important, because it demonstrates that you’re serious about the role. It also shows that you’re professional and well presented.

(If you’re not entirely sure what an appropriate dress “level” for your interview would look like, try browsing the employer’s website to see what the people in the photos look like, or do a little fashion show for some friends and family and get their opinions. You could also do a reconnaissance or stakeout of the said employer, but that’s bordering a little on the weird side.)


In the midst of a job interview (especially one that feels like a secret service interrogation) it can be easy to forget to ask questions of your own. But remember: don’t leave all the questioning to the interviewer.

Not asking questions can make you seem uninterested in the role. Asking questions, on the other hand, demonstrates your interest. And as long as you ask good questions, it also shows that you’re intelligent.

(Not sure what to ask? It’s ok to write down your questions so you don’t forget them. Potential questions include asking what sort of training you’ll receive in your role, what traits and experience the employers are looking for, and what the next step in the selection process is.)


We’ve all been in a job interview where the interviewers stare at you like the Spanish Inquisition (or at least that’s the way it feels). In situations like that, it’s easy to feel nervous. But don’t let that stop you from making eye contact as you speak.

Eye contact is a natural and normal part of human social interaction. It helps to establish trust when you’re speaking to someone. So whatever you do, don’t avoid eye contact during your interview.

(Worried you’ll let your nerves get the better of you? Do a practice job interview with a close friend. It’ll be easier to maintain eye contact with someone you know and trust, and this experience will give you a good idea of what feels natural and normal when it comes to looking at someone while speaking with them.)


Nobody wants to hire a disloyal individual. So don’t make yourself look disloyal by criticising a past or current employer.

Really, there’s nothing more to say on this one. It’s black and white, and rather obvious. Don’t do it.


The silent setting on your phone really isn’t good enough during an interview. So don’t commit this unpardonable job interview sin – turn your phone off.

When your phone rings in the middle of a job interview, it makes you look unprofessional, and may also be interpreted as indicating that you’re uninterested in the role.

From your perspective, having your phone ring during an interview can be incredibly off-putting. Just try gathering your thoughts again after your embarrassing ring tone has blared through the interview room. Awkward.

Once again, the message is simple: don’t leave your phone on during a job interview.


So there you have it. Our top job interview “don’ts”.

Ultimately, these are all simple things. They’re also simple to remember and avoid. And if you do, you’ll send a positive, professional message to the people interviewing you for your new role.

Do you have a top “don’t” that you like to recommend to people going for a job interview? Perhaps you have an interview horror story? If so, then we’d love to hear it. Let us know in the comments below.



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