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23 Most Common Reasons Job Candidates Fail Interviews

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The job interview is, without a doubt, the toughest stage of the hiring process.

Interviews can be daunting, and for many, the prospect of failing at this stage after coming so close to a job offer can be a significant source of anxiety.

In general, people who are nervous during interviews do not perform well.

Often, it is the basics that candidates get wrong.

Below you will find a list of things you should avoid to increase your chances of getting a job offer or at least a second interview.

1. A lack of preparation or planning for the interview.

Interview failures are most commonly caused by a lack of preparation. Successful interviews require planning and preparation.

To maximize your chances of getting a job offer, you must take advantage of the opportunities you have been presented with.

You got your foot in the door with your resume, and now it’s time to show why you’re the best candidate for the job.

If you don’t prepare and practice, you’re primarily relying on luck.

However, if you prepare well, you can stand out from the competition and ace the interview.

2. Overconfidence.

No matter how qualified you are for the role or how much experience you have in the field, you should never enter a job interview thinking that the job is already yours. 

It doesn’t matter how stellar your qualifications are, someone will always be better qualified than you.

Whether or not you win a job depends a great deal on your likability. Overconfidence is an indicator of arrogance, which will make you unlikable.

Regardless of your credentials, if the interviewer doesn’t like you, you won’t get the job.

Remain humble throughout the interview process, regardless of your credentials.

3. Sharing too much personal information.

It’s possible to share a little more information about your private life accidentally when you’re eager to make an impression or win over someone to your cause.

However, this will not serve your purpose. Rather, it will make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.

Your interviewer doesn’t want to know about your children or if you’ve been going through a hard time.

Stay away from controversial topics like religion, politics, and your health, as well as anything that involves your private life.

4. Arriving late.

It should go without saying that being late for an interview is totally unacceptable.

When you know you’ll be late, call and reschedule well in advance.

It’s not possible to recover from being late.

5. Being dishonest.

There is no way to get away with this. You should never lie about your educational background, skills, abilities, etc.

Lies – especially about something important – are a huge red flag and will make you ineligible for a job.

As an employee, this is a sign that you can’t be trusted, and certainly isn’t a sign that you are qualified to work in whatever setting you are looking for.

6. Being rude to the receptionist.

In the job market, everyone deserves respect, but you might not realize that the receptionist on your way to an interview has a great deal of influence.

Your receptionist should be treated as respectfully as you would an interviewer.

Interviewers may ask the receptionist how you behaved, and even if they don’t, the receptionist will definitely complain if you’re rude to her.

Treat each person with respect.

7. Not switching off your mobile.

The importance of turning off your phone cannot be overstated.

Make sure you do this before you arrive at the job site, or better yet, leave it in the car.

You won’t be interrupted in the middle of an interview if you do this.

That would be rude.

It will be frustrating, embarrassing, and you may lose your job offer as a result.

If there is not much to choose between candidates, remember that little things matter a lot to interviewers.

8. Dressing inappropriately

It is imperative to dress appropriately.

The smartest thing you can do is to ask the interviewer about the dress code when you are contacted about the interview or ask someone who works there.

It is always a wise idea to dress appropriately for the job you are applying for.

A suit is almost always the right choice.

Dark suits with light shirts are the best choice.

Be sure that the shoes you are wearing can actually be walked in, and that you are comfortable in what you are wearing.

Otherwise, it will show.

9. Not being confident.

Regardless of the outcome, not being confident is just as detrimental as being overconfident.

Employers prefer to hire confident individuals.

In most cases, if you were invited for an interview, it was because your profile attracted the potential employer’s attention.

This should motivate you to be confident when you interview.

Show that you are deserving of the position.

Avoid letting your nerves hurt your chances.

10. Not being able to explain how your skills match the position.

This demonstrates the importance of researching a role thoroughly before attending an interview.

Understanding and being able to explain how your strengths, personal attributes, and learned job skills apply to the position you are applying for is crucial.

11. Interrupting or talking over the interviewer.

While it is one thing to misunderstand a question, you should never, ever interrupt your interviewer.

It will reflect poorly on you.

Individuals with excellent communication skills and the ability to work well in a team are highly desired by employers.

Make a positive first impression by being polite and respectful.

12. Sounding Desperate or Overeager

It is critical to be on the right side of wanting the job, but not so anxious for one that they will notice.

In spite of how much you want the job, try to come across as a potential colleague, rather than as a desperate job seeker.

People do not want desperate people working for them, so speak with enthusiasm and confidence while staying cool and calm.

13. Not Knowing Your Resume Inside Out

It is critical for you to understand the resume you submitted. Make sure you’re familiar with everything on your resume, including who you worked for and for how long, the order, your achievements, etc.

It’s a bad sign if the interviewer refers to something on your resume and you don’t know what she is talking about.

14. Not Asking Good Questions

You cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ask insightful questions in an interview.

Failure to do so can even cost you the job. Interviews are two-way conversations.

Asking questions keeps you engaged.

By asking thoughtful questions during the interview instead of at the end, you can build rapport with the interviewer.

As well as demonstrating to the employer that you are capable and enthusiastic, asking questions also proves that you have researched the business.

You can’t get around it.

Asking questions just for the sake of asking questions won’t fool the interviewer.

Prepare your questions ahead of time.

15. Being defensive or argumentative

It is never a good idea to be aggressive or argue with the interviewer.

If you have to defend a point, do it in a way that makes it clear to the interviewer that you are correcting him/her instead of arguing with him.

Don’t forget that you’re there to show not only that you have the necessary skills for the role, but that you can also get along with strangers.

Argumentative behavior will cause the interviewer to seriously question your ability to fit in with the company’s culture.

16. Complaining.

Even after the interview is over, don’t complain about anyone or anything to the interviewer.

It is the equivalent of complaining on your first date.

Even if you have a valid complaint, complainers are unattractive, and an interviewer might feel you are too much trouble.

You will come off as a bad candidate.

17. Not making eye contact or making too much.

When communicating, eye contact is an extremely valuable form of body language.

This shows that you are concentrating and paying attention, and that you are a good listener.

If you fail to maintain eye contact with the interviewer, it shows that you aren’t really paying attention.

Despite this, you don’t want to make eye contact so intensely that the interviewer feels creeped out.

Focus on a spot between the interviewer’s eyes if you find it intimidating to maintain eye contact.

You can also glance at your resume periodically.

18. Yawning.

Make sure you sleep well before the interview.

That way, you won’t yawn.

If you yawn during the interview, it shows that you are bored and are not serious about the job.

Whether you were up all night doing research for the interview is irrelevant.

At best, it shows you do not know how to manage your time well.

But if the interviewer yawns and you yawn as a result, that’s perfectly natural and shouldn’t be taken as a negative.

19. No Connection between Personal Style and resume.

In the event that a professional resume writer writes the cover letter and resume from scratch, you might have issues at interviews.

This is because resume writers are strangers to you.

There is no way for them to know who you are, how you think, or what you want.

If they don’t know you, it is difficult for them to incorporate your personality into your resume.

Interviewers often pay attention to details and are meticulous.

As they read your resume, their attention will be drawn to how you answer each question.

If your verbal and thinking abilities differ significantly from those on your resume, it will be obvious you used someone else’s words and had someone else do your work for you.

By writing your own resume, you are more likely to connect with the interviewer.

It will be tailored to suit your personality.

Your interviewer will be able to connect the way you answer questions to the way you write your resume.

An experienced resume editor and proofreader can help you improve your grammar, sentence structure, as well as check for typos and other errors.

The original text, however, should be yours.

20. Lack of genuine enthusiasm for the role.

Even the most qualified resume can’t compensate for the lack of enthusiasm that keeps even the most qualified candidates from being hired.

There are many employers who prefer to hire less experienced candidates who can demonstrate their passion for the job.

If you are not truly interested in a job, it is impossible to fake interest at an interview.

If you apply for a job that you are just settling for, this is what happens.

When you are passionate about your role, you communicate better and generally appear more credible.

As a result, you’ll light up, talk with your hands, and remember key details about the company and industry with ease.

In the end, even if you have all of the skills in the world, if you lack inspiration or interest, you will not be motivated to perform at your highest level.

21. Not Conducting Enough Research

Not doing enough research shows a lack of genuine interest and can cost you a job offer even if you have a brilliant resume.

You need to convince the potential employer that you have a deep knowledge about the industry and its most common challenges. Conducting research shows that you have really thought about the different ways you can contribute to the company’s success.

Lack of research knowledge tells an interviewer that you’re only interested in getting paid.

22. Social Media

Social media has become part of our lives, and it is important to understand that its influence is tremendous.

Even if you have strict privacy safeguards, anything you publish on Facebook and Twitter in particular can still be broadcast to unforeseen audiences.

In a recent Workopolis survey, almost half – 48% – of companies said they have turned down candidates based on what they see on their social profiles.

More than 93% of recruiters admit that they regularly check Tweets, Facebook status and Instagram photos of their applicants in order to get a better overview of people’s personality.

The influence of your online presence is enormous, and can cost you a job opportunity if it’s a poor one.

23. Bad Attitude

You have almost no chance of being hired if you show up for the interview with a negative attitude.

Complaining about a former boss or co-worker at an interview is one of the biggest mistakes people make.

Even if your former boss was a jerk, you should keep it to yourself.

Putting down your previous employer will only make you look like a complainer, and the interviewer will see you as more of a hassle than you should be.

Employers are looking for upbeat, positive team members.

This is the attitude you need to bring with you to any interview.


These are the most common reasons why job candidates don’t receive job offers.

Therefore, you are more likely to be successful in landing your dream job if you can overcome the challenges outlined above in your job search.

You should bear in mind that your interviewer expects you to be human and have flaws.

However, the more impressive your impression is, the more likely they are to hire you.

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