Avoid These 3 Disastrous Job Interview Mistakes to Make the Best Possible Impression

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Interviewing is such an intensely fraught process. Dealing with the uncertainty is already stressful enough. Then there’s added stress of negotiating effectively and asking the right questions. (Pro tip: Facebook’s Head of HR says to ask this question.)

You want to come off as enthusiastic and confident — but not desperate or demanding.

Feeling anxious just thinking about your next interview? Use these insights from 862 hiring managers to feel more at ease. Simply Hired, the recruiting and job search platform, conducted a survey of hiring managers across the United States to break down the do’s and don’t about making a good impression.

A lot of them seemed like common sense behaviors. Of course you wouldn’t do that in an interview, right? In the event that you’re so anxious out about interviewing that your common sense has flown out the window, here’s a refresher about how you should comport yourself in an interview.

Don’t even think about showing up late

Punctuality is a virtue. The biggest detriment to making a good impression is tardiness. Almost all the hiring managers surveyed — 93 percent — said arriving late negatively affects the likelihood they’ll hire that candidate.

They cared more about candidates’ punctuality than interviewing those who were underqualified (only 80 percent said this was negative) or those who were braggarts (73 percent).

Better yet, plan to get there early. It won’t hurt, and 75 percent said they have a positive impression of candidates who arrived early.

Don’t badmouth a former boss or company

Behind arriving late, spewing vitriol about a current or former employer is one of the worst things you can do during an interview. It doesn’t matter how much truth there is to your statements. It’s a really bad look regardless.

An interview isn’t the place to vent and whine about why you hate your job. Save that commiseration for your work friends.

According to the Simply Hired results, 88 percent of hiring managers viewed bad-mouthing a former boss negatively, and 87 percent viewed bad-mouthing a former company negatively.

But what if they ask you why you’re looking for a new job? Answer truthfully, but tactfully. Here’s a word-for-word script Simply Hired recommends: “I have a desire to take on more responsibility and grow in my career.” According to 78 percent of the hiring managers surveyed, an ideal response would entail career growth and taking on more responsibility.

Do proofread your resume and cover letter

Spelling and grammar mistakes on your resume and cover letter can cost you the job. The survey found 86 percent of hiring managers found these mistakes to be in poor form.

Of course, it’s only human to make mistakes, especially after you’ve been rewriting the same paragraph over and over again. So do yourself a favor and ask a grammar-conscious friend to take a quick look for glaring errors. It might even be worth hiring a professional proofreader. If it leads to your dream job, it will have well been worth the investment.

Don’t worry about being nervous, but come prepared

Being nervous isn’t as big of deal as you think. Only 17-25 percent of hiring managers said being nervous had a negative effect.

Just make sure you come prepared. That means doing your research about the company, the role and how your expertise pertains to both. Showing a lack of preparation is a huge negative, according to 89 percent of hiring managers. They liked seeing candidates who came with a portfolio or examples of their work.

Curious about more job interview do’s and don’t? See the full results of the Simply Hired survey.