Stupid Interview Mistakes: Interview Boo Boos |

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter tells a story about a job applicant and how they made three critical mistakes.

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Yesterday, I had 1 of those situations occur that sometimes show up in my business; I thought to be a good teaching piece for you. Let me outline the situation.

I phone interviewed someone for 1 of my clients about a week ago. The person lived about an hour and 1/2 or my clients location. I was reticent to submit him. But after interviewing him and telling him how far away it was, the person says, "That's no problem. I commuted longer than that." I submitted it is my client and they want to meet with him. I scheduled a phone interview for yesterday. This is what happened.

The day before, I spoke with him about how I wanted him to do the interview. I spoke with him about the questions I wanted him to ask and when I wanted him to ask them during the interview. I covered many of these questions in 1 of my videos. So we spoke yesterday, his interview is scheduled for 1:30 PM. I received a call at 11:45 (Remember, he has 90 minutes to get to this interview. This is New York and there is this thing called traffic that goes on). He called me 15 minutes before the title deadline for getting there.

He tells me, "I just want you to know that I am going. He asks me if he can tell me a few the questions that he wants to ask. His 1st question is, "Tell me about your company." I respond by asking, "Excuse me? Why didn't you research this before hand? I sent URLs to the website to you. I sent Google searches to you and information about them. Why didn't you do your research?"

"Well, I thought I would hear from them."

"Well you hear from them but it happens to be on the website. Remember those questions I told you about the day before? Those are the ones you really need to ask because those will really help you and show that you are serious to them."


1:30 PM comes and goes. At 2:05 PM, I received an email from HR and the hiring manager asking where is he? In other words, he didn't leave with an hour and 1/2 to get there. He left late and thought he could pick up time. Didn't give himself any extra time and, low and behold, it is now 35 minutes late. He arrives 40 minutes late. He announces that he has a 130 appointment to see so-and-so, not having done any research, and walked in the door.

The next mistake in made was not apologizing for his lateness. He has inconvenienced at least 2 people and common courtesy dictates that you apologize and explain that there was traffic, confirm that they can still see you... You're courteous about it just like you would with a friend if you got there so late. You wouldn't ignore that, would you? You apologize.

This guy walks in and suffice it to say by not apologizing, he has ticked off two people who right off the bat believe he is discourteous (and rightly so).

My advice for you is really very simple.

(1) Do your homework before your interview.
(2) Give yourself adequate time to get to interview and then some because there is this thing called traffic or there are these things called delays or even getting lost. I don't care if you have a GPS; sometimes the GPS is are confusing. I just don't get there in the most direct way.
(3) If you do wind up arriving late, apologize. Give them an explanation and candidly say, "It's not my matter to be late. This is very unusual. I'm really very sorry."


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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