10 Reasons You WON’T Get The Job

In the last few years I have noticed that more people show up for job interviews unprepared or come with a sense of entitlement. Confidence is great but you don’t want to go to an interview with the wrong attitude.

Never do these 10 things in an job interview:

  1. Be unprepared. Candidates usually have a few days to prepare for a job interview. This is the time to learn everything you can about the company and job.
  2. Dress like a homeless person. You are trying to make a good first impression so dress appropriately. That means no Birkenstocks or shorts.
  3. Have nothing to say or say too much. You want to go into detail when selling yourself. This is usually difficult for most people but detail is very important. On the other hand you don’t want to talk too much because it can show that you’re not a good listener.
  4. Lie. Donโ€™t lie about your past, your qualifications, education etc. If you’re caught lying during a job interview it can be grounds for termination later on.
  5. Arrive late. There is never a good excuse to be late I.e. Traffic, couldn’t find the place etc. You should give yourself plenty of time and arrive 15 minutes before the interview.
  6. Talk about money. This means asking about benefits, vacation, sick time etc. It will be discussed if a job offer is made.
  7. Talk on your cell phone or read text messages. The recruiter doesn’t care if you are waiting to hear back from another interview. Using your phone is rude and shows that your not taking the interview seriously.
  8. Leave the interview early. Recruiters understand that you are going to other interviews but you should never cut short the interview for another appointment. You should block off enough time to give a complete interview.
  9. Swear. Obviously foul language is inappropriate and should never be used in an interview.
  10. Act like a douche. So many people come to interviews thinking the company needs them more than they need the job. You should act confident but remember youโ€™re not the only candidate. If you come with a sense of entitlement you will not get the job.

Last but not least, don’t forget to follow up. Always follow up within a few days. It shows the employer you want the job. This can be done by sending a thank you email. It makes a good impression and that is what it’s all about.

Good Luck!!!!!

Photo by kennymatic

49 thoughts on “10 Reasons You WON’T Get The Job

  1. September 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Does bringing a bongo drum and dreadlocks into the interview help my chances?


  2. Jordan
    September 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Act like a douche. LOL!

    Hey, what’s the etiquette on stopping at Starbucks before your meeting to caffeeine up, then bringing the paper cup in with you?

    1. September 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      Unless you are planning on bringing enough coffee for everyone. If not, make sure you get your caffeine fix before hand. That means Redbull too Jordan ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Greg White
    September 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Dorothy

    As always, your articles are so very helpful. After reading your points, it seems so common sense but so important – thank you for the details



  4. September 13, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks Greg!

  5. September 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I agree with Greg!

  6. Chris
    October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    If after a second interview with the hiring manager(s), if they don’t like you are they more likely to let you know right away, at least by the following day. I’m not sure if having to wait means good news or bad news.

    1. October 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Chris,
      In my experience I don’t tell any candidate that I don’t like them until the recruitment process is over. As a recruiter you never know if your #1 choice declines the job offer so I need my #2 choice to be available. If I told the #2 choice that they were not the ideal candidate then they might get another job before I find out that my #1 choice decided to decline the offer. So no, I don’t think you are more likely to know right away. During the interview you should have asked when you expect to hear from the company with a decision. This would have given you a timeline and provided you with some good night sleep rather than worrying too much about it. Did you send a thank you letter? Remember to follow-up and this is where you can ask them about the timeline if you forgot during the interview. Hope that helps.

  7. yolanda
    October 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Haai I’m still looking for a job , I have no qualifications what so ever but I have the experience. All the time I went for interview I always pass the first and second interview but last one is always fail for me. What would be the problem. Please help.

    1. October 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Yolanda,
      I think the fact that you have no qualifications maybe the problem. Since you were invited to interviews this means that either the job descriptions were not clear on the qualifications or that the recruiters/hiring managers liked your experience so much that they were ok to over look your lack of qualifications. Unfortunately when push came to shove and you were compared to the other candidates you were probably not hired due to the lack of qualifications. My suggestion for you is to ask for specific feedback. If you want to improve you need to know what you’re doing wrong.

  8. October 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I have a question if anyone has a answer.I have 10 years retail management experience and 6 years property management with perfect references with both ends and work verification letters.I also managed properties and retail stores at the same time so there is time overlap in both areas.I have a bachelor degree in business and a associates in accounting.I have been on many interviews and they always went well during the interview but would never hear back from them even after thank you emails.I also rechecked back into a job that I had a interview with only to find the new manager there that I had interviewed about a year earlier with about a year of management experience and no college at all.What has the world come to when a high school diploma is better than 6 years of college .anyway any input would be a great help.

    1. October 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Thomas,
      Well I’m not sure how well you’re doing in the interviews or how you’re coming across if you don’t get invited to more interviews or if you don’t get job offers. Also, I’ve said this before but you should not expect a response when you send a thank you email. The hiring manager or HR does not have to time to thank you for your thank you email. Unless you ask a question you should not be expecting a response back. Now maybe you are applying to roles that you are overqualified for. You need to remember to not just go in there showing off all your years of experience and how perfect you are but you need to listen to the hiring manager or recruiter and see what kind of person they really want in the role. Sometime it’s not a go getter who can makes himself out to be superman and can fix any problem. Look at the environment, learn about the culture and see the other people working there, this should give you a good idea of what the company is looking for. Being over ambitious or over confident is not what every company is looking for. Hope that helps.

  9. Buff
    October 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Maybe you should have cut it to 5 and left out the obvious ones. Don’t use your cell phone? Don’t dress like a bum? Does anyone REALLY need to be told these things?

    1. October 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Buff,
      Glad you think it’s common sense or obvious not to use your cell phone (or even having it out to glance at texts, or to have in your hand because you’re nervous), not dressing like a bum (if people hate to iron they can bring their clothes to the cleaners and they can do it for you) but most people need reminding. Thanks for the comment.

  10. Tim
    November 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Dorothy,

    What questions should you ask to gain a true idea of the company culture and specifically the manager’s management style without seeming overly obtrusive? With my last job, they told me one thing, but it ended up being completely the opposite (in a negative way). I would like to avoid this with my next job.

    1. November 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Tim,
      I think you need to be honest and specific. For example, if you’re last job told you that they don’t micro manage but in fact they did then I would use that as an example. Say that you do not like being micro managed and that you are looking for a manager that trusts their staff and feels that they hire people that know what they are doing so they don’t need to micro manage. Ask your potential future manager how they would describe their management style and ask them to specifically talk about micro management and what that means to them. I would recommend having a list of questions ready for the end of the interview so this does not look like you are attacking anyone but that you have come prepared and take these questions seriously. Remember the probationary period is not just on you but on the company as well. Hope that helps.

  11. Liz
    November 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Is it okay to bring the list of questions to the interview with you and refer to it when it’s time to ask questions of the interviewer?
    Or, is this something that needs to be committed to memory?

    1. November 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Liz,
      It’s absolutely ok to bring a list of questions with you to an interview. I would suggest bringing a notepad so you can take notes on the names of the people who are interviewing you and the interview itself and of course that’s where you can also have the list of questions that you want answered. Bringing a notepad or a list of questions shows that you came prepared and that you interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.

  12. Eva
    November 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

    What to do if you’re applying for a job in an entry level or casual field like retail and don’t get the email or telephone number of the person who interviewed you?

    Because the few times I’ve tried calling someone the day after or two days after my interview, the managers have been too rushed to speak to me or seemed to not understand why I was calling them when they told me they wouldn’t be making a decision until later in the week. I live in a small town and don’t want to alienate employers by going by the book in ways that they’ve never seen.

    1. November 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

      Hi Eva,
      Each interview and industry that you apply to will be different. When it comes to retail and casual work the employers usually have the luxury of getting a lot of applicants because the job requirements or usually very low. Due to the job requirements many people can be qualified to do the job and so the employers are able to chose whoever they want. In this case, they will chose someone who they think physically looks good to sell the product to the customers and who will be able to work well with the other members of the team. The attrition rate for retail and casual jobs is usually high so the recruiter will usually not give out an email or telephone number because the hiring process is very quick. Most of the time you have to wait to hear from them if you got the job or follow up in person at the store location where you had your interview.

  13. an
    November 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I went to an interview,I apply on line first, then they call me for interview, so I wen t in, It was nice and short one , they did not ask a lot of question, but they told me there is no job that fets on my request. & we agree about the salary because I did not demand. she was very nice, but she told me that there is a lot more interviews. I was confuse if I get the job or not, we talked about families, kids.short but we both very comfortable. it was the administrator. or manager. Then I send my thank you note right after, they told me that I will hear from them according to the date that I put in my application which is 3 to 4 weeks.

    1. November 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Hi An,
      No I don’t think you got the job if they told you that there was no job that fits your request. I’m glad it was a positive interview for you but you should move on and apply to other roles that interest you and more importantly that you are qualified for. Good Luck!

  14. G
    December 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I have a question- Im scheduled to go to a second meeting at a law firm(support staff not attorney) after a very successful first one (I thought so anyway). I met with the office manager and the supervisor. The office manager emails me very casually, instead of using my last name, she uses my first name and she also wrote ‘see you tomorrow!’ on the last email I am very interested in the position and I hope things work out. What kind of feel should have about all of this?

    1. December 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      Hi G,
      Don’t read into the email so much. Just focus on the interview and remember to be confident and try not to be nervous. You have to tell yourself that you are qualified for the job and remember to smile and be enthusiastic about the role and working for that office. Good Luck!!!

  15. Mandy B.
    December 2, 2011 at 2:05 am


    Thanks for your helpful articles. I am in the job market for a professional marketing job, a career field I have been in for several years until a recent layoff. However, I live in a smaller town (150,000 pop.) and these positions are not open frequently. In the meantime, I am searching for lower-skill, lower-paying employment that will help pay the bills. However, I am afraid that recruiters won’t consider me for such positions because on paper I am overqualified and have higher salary requirements. What is the best way to communicate that I would be willing to compromise on salary and work below my qualifications?

    1. December 2, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Hi Mandy,
      The trick is to not look over qualified on paper and therefore not showing that you are compromising on anything i.e. salary or qualifications. You need to adjust your resume to match the job that you’re applying for. Some ways of doing that is not highlighting all of your accomplishments. Generally people find this difficult because they have to portray yourself as having less experience. Every part of your being wants you to tell people about all your experiences and how you’re perfect for the job but when you are overqualified you need to control that urge. So you need to change your resume so you are no longer overqualified and you need to obviously lower your salary requirements, which isn’t a shocker because you have obviously made a conscience decision to apply for a lower paying job. So the trick is to show that you’re not compromising at all and you just want to work for that company or have that job for other reasons i.e. different experience, you’ve always loved fashion (if you’re looking at a job at a store), you love talking to people (customer focused job) etc. Hope that helps and if you would like I can always take a look at your resume for you and provide you with some pointers. Check out my services page for more info.

  16. Throneless
    January 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Dorothy,
    First off thank you for the post, it really helped me to understand the hiring process.
    I recently had a first (out of 3) interview about a week ago (1/13) for a junior software developer position. They gave me 3 classic google-like logic problems, I answered two of them, but the interviewer said that he was interested by my way of resolving the problems not the results, and that I was doing good.
    I sent a follow-up email the very next day, but still no response.
    Do you think that I didn’t get the job, especially that the interviewing person said that they are in the final phases of the recruitment process, and He complemented my profile many times during the interview !! that’s really confusing, what should I do ?


    1. January 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Hi Throneless,
      First of all you shouldn’t expect a response to your thank you note. You are just thanking them for taking the time to see you and they are not going to thank you for the thank you note – that’s just silly. Unless you asked a follow-up question you should never expect a response. Did you ask them when they expect to notify candidates of their decision? I’m not sure if you didn’t get the job yet. If they complemented you then that’s good and maybe you just need to be patient. Hope you hear from someone soon.

  17. Throneless
    January 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Dorothy,
    Thank you so much for the answer.
    They called me today to reschedule a second interview.I hope everything goes well.
    By the way you have a great blog, I told my friends to come take a look.
    Thanks again

    1. January 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Throneless and I hope everything goes well too. Good Luck and I’ll cross my fingers for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. VV
    February 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Hi, what about telling the interviewer about upcoming booked trips? The trip has already been booked and is in November. I’m inclined to tell the interviewer that I have this trip booked, it is for ten days. What do you think I should do?

    1. February 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Hi VV,
      I wouldn’t tell anyone about a booked trip unless you are already offered the job and your are negotiating the start date. I would make sure that they have your phone number (cell) and email address so they can contact you. You don’t know for sure that you will be invited to the next stage of the interview process and if you tell a recruiter that you are going away for 10 days before you even get invited the recruiter may just pass on you. If you get an invite while you’re away then you can decide to either hold off on replying until closer to your return or you can reply letting them know when your available, which is when you return from your trip. Hope that helps.

  19. GlitterQueen
    February 6, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I lost a job because of being on my mobile (cell) phone. It’s not like I was stupid enough to answer it in the interview but another job rung me with a actual offer while I was waiting to go in and then when they waved me into the room I was in an awkward position as I couldn’t blow off the person actually offering me a job on the phone but then I also didn’t want to be rude to the person waving me into his office. BAD TIMING!!!!!! Interview otherwise went well but I was a bit frazzled as I knew after being on the phone and not immediately hanging up I had no chance whatsoever. On the bright side I at least got one job from the ordeal.

    1. February 6, 2012 at 6:33 am

      Talk about bad timing GlitterQueen. I’m glad things worked out and you got a job ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. TMF
    February 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I located this blog while doing a Google Search. I am currently job hunting after having my full-time position reduced to part-time/per diem position. Although the advice given is good common sense, I do however take issue in that the blame in not getting a position is placed on the candidate if she/he did something wrong during the interview process. Sometimes things occur beyond the control of the candidate when it comes to receiving an offer. There are many reasons why a candidate is not offered a position, and most of the time it’s no fault of the candidate. The job market today is very competitive. Ten years ago a candidate could have received an offer having 9 out of the 10 qualifications. Today, candidates pretty much need 10 out of 10, and even that does not qualify as a shoe in for a job offer. People just cannot give up.

    As mentioned by others, I do take issue with some employers in negating to follow-up with candidates. I went on one interview two months ago in which I spent nearly the entire day at the company. I took tests, toured the facility, and even met with some of the executive staff. I spent almost seven hours being interviewed, however I never to heard back from HR (and yes I sent a Thank You **and** as well as a follow-up letter requesting where I stood as an applicant). There are some employers and recruiters who do lack decorum and have disregard for the applicant. Employers and recruiters should advise candidates where they stand. Although I can respect that itโ€™s near impossible to reply to every single applicant, however not advising candidates who took the time to be interviewed is just rude; just my two cents on this topic.

    Thanks for letting me vent ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck to all who are looking.

  21. Jhon
    February 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    10. Act like a douche.
    Wow whats with today’s generation?.

    In the mid 80’s when I became a teenager, douche bag was still around from the 70’s and was still popular, but it was never a business term.
    Your are definitely showing your age here.
    Just don’t add professional to your marketing tag.

    No I’m not a old far, creative type, look under 30, and was a nonconformist teenage punk

  22. Jhon
    February 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Okay …I know it was supposed to be joke. I guess I’m conservative because I didn’t grow up seeing the f word, in every second paragraph in major newspapers

    1. February 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Jhon,
      hahaha..sorry you didn’t find #10 that funny. The only thing I can say is that you need to learn not to take everything so seriously. Have a laugh once in a while.

  23. rosa
    February 20, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Hi,i went for a interview today.i hope i get the job, it seemed very positive ,I had all the answers to the questions asked,i was told that i may get called for a second interview

    1. February 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      That’s great news rosa! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. Remember to send a thank you note.

  24. rosa
    February 22, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Thanks Dorothy,They still havnt called me and i am getting rather anxious now,Do you think they could have chosen anther person for the job?

    1. February 22, 2012 at 2:29 am

      Be patient rosa. The waiting game can be the hardest part of the interview process. Stay positive and remember not to stop your job search while you wait to hear back from this company.

  25. Maris
    February 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm


    I recently had an interview where I though it went fantastic, they even told me at the end ‘ I think you’ll be a great fit here’ but I didn’t get the job.
    What do you suppose happened?

    1. February 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Hi Maris,
      You might be a good fit for the company but not a great fit for that specific role. I would ask for some feedback and hopefully it will help you for future interviews. Hope that helps.

  26. Cindy
    February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am


    I’d appreciate your advice about preparing for an interview that is being set up by a recruiting company.

    I applied for an advertised position, but the job description was very general, and details of the company (recruiter’s client) was confidential.

    The recruiting company called me today and implied that they’d like to arrange an interview. They were able to tell me the approximate area of the city, and that it was a “construction” company, but beyond that she was not willing to divulge any other details (understandable, to some degree). She asked if I would be available on Monday, and she’d call me Monday morning if the interview is a “go”.

    This gives me no opportunity to research the actual company. I’d be going into the interview cold, unable to answer or ask intelligent questions relating specifically to the company. I just feel at a real loss whenever I apply to these jobs that are advertised by recruitment firms. Even my cover letters are so generic b/c I don’t know what company I’m applying to.

    How would you suggest this type of situation be handled? How can I properly PREPARE for the interview (as your point #1 in this topic suggests), if I don’t know in advance what company I’m going to?

    1. February 29, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Hi Cindy,
      This situation is not ideal but don’t worry. You just need to keep in mind that the company knows that you know nothing about the role (other than the vague job description) and the company so a big part of the interview will be the interviewers talking about the role in detail and why you should want to work with them. I would just make sure you listen very well and take notes as you go since everything you will hear will be new to you. I would prepare to answer the common interview questions and just be ready and comfortable to talk about yourself. Good luck and don’t be afraid to bring a pad of paper and a pen to take notes. good Luck!

  27. alyanna
    March 12, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Hi Dorothy,

    I have gone thru 2 rounds of interviews and a written exam for the same company. I went for the 3rd and last interview, which was with the company’s director. The interviewer told me twice that I have lots of work experience based on my resume. He also mentioned that he will get the feedback from the people who interviewed me previously. Though he told me that I will be hearing from them next week as they are still interviewing other candidates, I don’t quite understand what is the real score. What do you think , what does he really mean when he says I have lots of prior work experience, is it a negative or a positive sign?


    1. March 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Hi Alyanna,
      You might be over analyzing this but it really depends on how he said “you have lots of prior work experience”. Did you find that it came out negative or positive? I couldn’t tell you because I wasn’t in the interview but personally I think that’s good news. Experience is great but too much isn’t good because the company wants to keep you challenged. Again, you will have to be patient and think back and try to figure out how that statement was given. Hope that helps and Good Luck!

  28. Morgan
    July 31, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I had an interview today that I felt went really well at the time. When I asked about the timeline at the end of the interview they wouldn’t give me one. All they said was that when they found the right person they would make the decision. Should I take that as I’m not one of their top candidates?