10 Ways to Bomb an Interview

Having worked with strong recruiting teams throughout my career and conducting many interviews with all level of talent, I have found there are 10 key attributes a candidate can do in an interview that for me shuts down the interview and has me ready to continue looking.

10 Ways to Bomb an Interview

  1. Come in unprepared, not having researched the company. This can be in the form of not knowing what the company does, to not knowing the services/products the company provides or not having a prepared list of questions for the interviewer.  If a company is going to think you are worthy of the position, you need to put some time into the interview. Research who the company is, what they do, and who they service. It is all on their website, if you can’t take the 10 minutes to do this research than you are not showing that you are interested in the position.
  2. Talk in clichés. The answer to “what do you want to do next in your career?” should not be, “I want to make an impact” or “ I want to be someplace I can be of value”. Everyone wants that. Be specific about how you will make an impact and bring value to that specific company, that specific role and team.
  3. Provide vague examples and details of your experience. If you state you can do something, provide specific, detailed examples of how you accomplished the achievement. The interviewer is looking for demonstrated examples that you can do the job you are interviewing for and that you accomplished what you state in your resume. Even if your past experience does not tend exactly to the present circumstances show how what you have done or learned could be applied to the requirements for the position.
  4. Show lack of confidence in your ability to meet the requirements of the job. If there are qualifications in the job requirements that are not something you have specifically done, saying you are have never done them and are unsure of your ability to do them, does not provide confidence to the interviewer. Provide specific examples of how other experiences can lend you the ability to take on new challenges successfully, be a quick learner or by adding up past accomplishments, this opportunity leverages all these skills.
  5. Lie.  You will be found out. Today’s transparency online and connections between people, makes it very easy to back check information.  State the truth in the best light possible.
  6. Don’t connect with the interviewer.  Work is more than just your skill set, it’s about relationships. It goes beyond not being rude to the interviewer, its about creating a thread of connectiveness that shows you can be a good member of a team.
  7.  Don’t look the interviewer in the eye.  Avoiding eye contact gives the impression you are not interested in the interviewer and at worse, that you are not being upfront about your skills. Looking the interviewer in the eye, showing interest in the meeting, and being engaged in the conversation, shows that you are interested in the position.
  8. Say that you are perfect because you have no weaknesses and have made no mistakes.  Wrong. We all have them, so be upfront about it. You don’t have to pick your worse ones, in fact pick something that you have been working on and have improved upon. Demonstrate that you have self-awareness and have made improvements. Talk about a  mistake not in terms of what you did wrong, but what did you learn from it and how it has added to your skill set.
  9. State that you are the perfect fit for what they are looking to hire. Really, why? Do you know their business, the team and skills sets they are trying to round out, the personalities on the team? Don’t assume you know what they need, tell them confidentially what you bring to the table and how it could benefit them, based on the information you have.
  10. Talk badly about your prior boss or prior company. If you are willing to talk badly about where you were, what are you going to do when you leave the company you are interviewing to go to? Everyone wants to know they will treated fairly and not disparaged afterwards. Talk about your prior company/boss in light of what you learned from it and the experience you gained.