By Lina Martinez

We love to stick it to The Man here at zenruption. But, we’ll admit, it’s not always the right attitude. There are certain scenarios in life where you just have to play by the rules. When you meet his or her parents for the first time, for example. Or, in the case of this post, when you go to a job interview.


It’s quite simple. If you don’t give those interviewers what they want, they aren’t going to hire you. Here are six things that can - and do - go wrong in job interviews.





You applied for the wrong job


We’re all for breaking down barriers and common perceptions. But you have to have a little realism, too. When you’re looking at job vacancies, are you sure you can tick every box before you apply? Run through the full job spec and memorize two or three examples of what you can do, for every skill or quality they are looking for. The interviewers will quiz you on everything, and they will sniff out any bending of the truth.


You didn’t research


Make sure you take plenty of time to research the company that is interviewing you. For a start, it’s just good manners. But it will also help you think about how you can fit into their organization, and how you can help them improve. Take a look at their company website, and read up on their people on LinkedIn. It’s all there for you, and there are no excuses for poor research.


You were late


Stroll in even a couple of minutes late for your interview, and you better have a good reason accompanying you. It’s not acceptable - you’re there to impress. That said, you don’t want to turn up too early, either - you will appear more than a little desperate. Aim to arrive between ten and twenty minutes before your interview and no one will think you are weird, rude, or both.


You didn’t follow the instructions


Interviews these days can be complicated scenarios. You might be asked to bring a whole bunch of stuff, from portfolios through to proof of ID. It’s not optional, however - it’s a necessity. If you fail to bring in everything that is asked of you, you won’t get the job - it’s as simple as that.


You didn’t wash


Like it or not, appearance is everything in job interviews. The modern business won’t necessarily need you to turn up in your most expensive suit these days. But you had better be presentable, smart, wrinkle-free, and clean. There will be many other people coming to the same interview as you, and some may have similar skillsets. But if you turn up looking like a mess, and they are looking sharp, who is going to get the job? Clue: not you


They didn’t trust you


You can be the most honest, trustworthy and decent person on the planet. But unless you can go into that interview and look people in the eye, interviewers will think you are shadier than Dick Dastardly. Eye contact is essential, no matter how nervous or uncomfortable you feel. Don’t overdo it, of course. Psychopathy tends to go down even worse in the interview environment.


Good luck with the next interview!

Lina Martinez has her B.S. in journalism and is a contributor to our politics, life and money pages. She once admitted over drinks to singing "Careless Whisper" in the shower. We are still trying to get her to sing it at karaoke.