Updated June 7, 2023
Interview turnoff refers to behaviors or actions that can negatively impact the interviewer’s image of a candidate during a job interview. This turnoff can decrease the chances of a candidate being hired, regardless of their qualifications and experience.
“Opportunity does not knock; it presents itself when you beat down the door.”
An interview does sound like a huge opportunity for every professional; be it the first interview or second or many, the eagerness and anxiety to convert the interview call are still the same. Have you had goosebumps for losing a job opportunity you saw an invitation for in the mailbox? Do you feel you are inappropriate about some requisites when you are going for the job interview? If yes, you must understand that it’s time for you to make changes before you face any disappointment. The professional environment of the industry differs from one sector to another. It depends upon the work demand, but what remains the same across all sectors is the discipline of the workplace that needs to be managed and regulated by the people working.
A professional is well regarded and rewarded for many reasons apart from his work achievements; as a newcomer, one needs to understand the guidelines that may not be mentioned in the invitation letter but are followed strictly across the industry. So let us understand what is important for an individual who is going to attend an interview to avoid any situation of being rejected due to the interview turnoff displayed by him or her.
Interview Turnoffs To Be Avoided
#1 – Interview Turnoff – Improper Dress-Code
You will meet a professional to present yourself for an opportunity; therefore, the approach needs to be professional too. Your clothes, shoes, bag, etc., clearly give the interviewer the first impression of your personality. A formal approach means professional delivery. An informal dress depicts one’s casual approach toward the opportunity. It’s not important to wear expensive clothes but they must be clean, ironed, and basic in color tone. Decent light colors would bring all the attention towards you during the interview, creating a nice impression of you. Wearing a t-shirt or loose trousers is a strict no-no for an interview; such attire might make the interviewer feel as if you have come for a lousy day’s outing, and attending an interview is just a formality.
#2 – Interview Turnoff – No Information on the Recruiter
Getting an interview call is not enough; you need to know the company’s information in and out before you attend the interview. The interviewer expects the interviewee to come prepared with respect to having all the required documentation well in series. Any clique at the interview desk would create an embarrassing situation for both parties. It’s important to pay attention to the requirement of the interview position and then apply for it. You must read the company’s information well to understand their work and question your feasibility in the organization.
#3 – Interview Turnoff – Unpunctual
Today money and time go parallel… You value time; money will come to you automatically. Have you thought about it before? If not, then make it the first thing on your checklist this time before you hit the interview. Time is self-managed, and discipline follows it; you need to know this to make a positive impression at the interview. Getting it rescheduled is acceptable for a genuine reason, but making it a habit is completely unprofessional. No one likes to entertain a candidate who comes late with lame excuses, as there may be chances he would do the same if recruited by the organization. Reaching early to the interview venue will not harm you; rather, it will give you time to get accustomed to the environment, allowing you to interact with people working for the same organization and those who are there for the interview purpose.
#4 – Interview Turnoff – Unpreparedness
Being prepared means being ready in terms of dress, documents, and mental level. Interviews being the first step towards your new organization, it becomes very necessary for the applicant to have an up-to-date resume and know your qualifications, achievements, etc. If you do not have your updated resume, it can prove fatal because being prepared reveals your active and responsible personality. Make sure you have specific answers to every question that an interviewer might ask.
#5 – Interview Turnoff – Poor Body Language
Interviewers do not like hiring applicants who are uptight or possess closed personalities. If you appear tired or sad, the interviewer will not select you for the desired job. Hence, body language plays a major role during the selection process in an interview. Sitting straight with a warm smile, a firm handshake, a positive aura around you, etc., are very important.
Listening properly and answering without rambling are the key factors. Laid back attitude, crossed arms or legs, etc., conveys that the job applicant is not interested in the interview, thus, creating a negative image. Being angry or aggressive or carrying an “I-Know-It-All” attitude might create a problem as well.
Body Language also includes smell. Appearing in an interview after smoking or lunch is an interview turnoff. The fragrance or perfume that you put on is important as well. Do not put on too much perfume, thinking it might take a lot of time in the interview, as it might work against you. A light flowery fragrance for ladies or light musk cologne for gents can be a great choice during an interview.
#6 – Interview Turnoff – Positive or Negative Comments
The interviewer will ask about your last job and if you have any prior experience. Questions like “why did you leave your last job?” or “how was your experience in the last organization?” and so forth. Play smart because this is a very tricky situation. Emphasize your responsibilities and achievements in the organization more than commenting on the negative or positive sides of your previous organizations.
Remember not to make negative remarks about your boss, management, or the work culture of the last company you worked with. A lot of positive comments can also ruin the situation because this will show that you are still dwelling upon your last organization and have many pre-conceived expectations in your mind.
#7 – Interview Turnoff – Too Straightforward and Bragging
It’s good to be honest, and straightforward when talking about yourself and your experience, or it might question your integrity. However, revealing your weaknesses, unhealthy habits, etc., will be an interview turnoff. It’s always advisable to talk about those weaknesses on which you have been working to improve yourself.
Talking about yourself and talking about your achievements is good. However, bragging about yourself is a major interview turnoff. The interviewers do not like applicants who use “I” all the time, especially when mentioning any achievement in particular. It’s always good to consider the efforts of the entire team, which shows that you are a team player and respect the efforts that everyone has made.
#8 – Interview Turnoff – Unfit Resume
The CV or resume should be presentable and properly formatted. The key to a good resume is “stick to the basics.” Make sure that the font and color you use are the same for the entire resume and not different for different sections. Use Aerial or Times New Roman and use Black color as these are considered formal.
A resume reveals everything about you as it is the only source of information the interviewer has, even before the job applicant has appeared for the interview. You have to be very careful while framing the resume. Go through a sample resume over the internet.
Another important thing to avoid an interview turnoff is your email address. It should be formal and have your name on it, like [email protected], rather than something funky like [email protected] or [email protected], etc.
A resume should have clear and complete information about your contact details, goal or objective, qualifications, work experiences, and achievements.
#9 – Interview Turnoff – Leave your Cell Phone ON
Keeping your cell phone on is an important interview turnoff. Remember that you are not a president or a business tycoon and must attend every call or peep into your phone screen for every message. It’s important to keep your phone silent or switch it off during the interview. You are sitting in an interview that decides your career path in the future, so any call or message can wait till you complete the interview. Using a cell phone is a major interview turnoff because it shows unprofessionalism and gives an idea of insincerity and disrespect towards the interviewer.
#10 – Interview Turnoff – Not Asking Questions
It’s always important to ask questions or clear doubts as it shows that you are participative and believe in a clear and crisp conversation. Not only this, but also asking about the company’s culture, growth policy, promotion policy, work culture, roles, responsibilities, and expectations that the organization has from the applicant, etc., is significant. Asking questions also exhibit your interest in the job role that you’ve applied for. It also shows that you are ready for the new role, thus, conveying your responsible and dynamic personality traits.
Cracking an interview call may not be the most difficult thing you have come across, but presenting yourself in the most appropriate manner, like any other professional, can be a task to learn. An unprofessional attitude or inappropriate approach is completely unacceptable across industries; you may be representing the organization as an employee, and a taint on the public image is considered improper. Letting go of a chance to make it to a level or position you deserve, depending on your caliber and education, would be foolish. On top of having a reason for rejection, the interview turnoff at the interview session is all the more heinous.