Over the years I have interviewed hundreds of candidates. I have seen and heard things that would shock you and that you would never expect during an interview. So I have compiled a list of the top ten things not to do during an interview.

10. Do not bring your boyfriend, best friend or children to an interview. This is horrible interview behavior. I once had a candidate bring her entire family – there were seven very rowdy people in our lobby. You can imagine what we were thinking.

9. Do not curse or use profane language during an interview. Absolutely someone has done this before and they were promptly removed from the running. Using profanity during an interview is unprofessional.

8. Do not chew gum or smoke during an interview. Again this goes back to professionalism and smacking gum during an interview = not professional.

7. Do not argue with the employer. Even if you know you are right beyond a shadow of a doubt about something it is just bad manners.

6. Do not put your briefcase, purse, pocketbook, handbag, etc. on the employer’s desk. This is more subjective then the rest but it goes along with their personal space and professional etiquette. You would not go to a stranger’s house and prop your feet on their dining room table… same theory here.

5. Do not gossip or tell jokes. Jokes have no place in an interview even if it is related to the job and gossip certainly doesn’t either.

4. Refrain from bad mouthing your previous employer. This is like an epidemic. I think people get trapped because the employer wants to know why you left your last position. Even if you left because so and so was a horrible manager, they were misappropriating funds, Sheila was sleeping around, or Joe was sexually harassing you. It does not matter your employer does not want to hear it. If you speak negatively about a prior employer your potential employer will assume that you will bad mouth them as well. Zip your lip my friend and instead use one of these: “I am looking for growth opportunities, advancement or a better opportunity”, “We had new management and they restructured the organization”, or “The Company went through a layoff.” Only use what is truthful. If something bad happened and you left because of it, then obviously you are in search of a better opportunity.

3. Do not accept refreshments. Drinks spill and food makes a mess. Enough said.

2. Do not say ANYTHING negative about yourself, colleagues, previous employers, competitive organizations and do not tell them about your personal or financial troubles. Most importantly do not express your NEED for the job. We are all human and as humans, desperation is a turn off. You know this… remember dating during your high school years?

1. During the first interview do not discuss wages, benefits, vacations, perks, etc. This is a tricky one because what do you do if the employer brings it up? Here is a general rule of thumb; do not bring up salary, benefits, vacation, perks etc. If the employer brings it up there are two ways to respond. If they bring it up at the beginning of the interview and they would like to know your salary requirements you could say something like: I would really like to hear more about the opportunity before I could say what my salary requirement would be. OR you can give them a range. I typically do not like to commit to a number. I like to share a range. For example, if you were interviewing and they asked you what are your salary requirements you could say mid-to-high $50’s. This gives them AND you some wiggle room. Often times you find that during an interview they will share with you what the budgeted salary is for the position. If it is within your range and they ask you about it you can share with them that it is within your range. It is perfectly OK to negotiate salary – but NOT during the initial interview. In fact, most experts will advise you to shy away from talking about it during the initial interview and instead leave it for when the employer brings it up during future meetings. Also, when they are asking you at the end of the interview if you have any questions do not ask them about benefits, vacation or PTO policies. These questions make you seem only interested in the perks and not in the position.

This is simply a basic list for your next interview. I assure you there are many more points to consider however, these are the most common mistakes I have seen. Review this list frequently and make sure you are not making the same mistakes at your next interview. Best wishes in your job search!

Author's Bio: 

Jessica Holbrook is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. She has written more than 100 articles that are featured on some of the best career advice Web sites today. In addition, her writing has been included in Launch pad, a career search strategy guide featuring exclusive information by the top career experts in the industry. Published quarterly, Launch pad is the respected guide used by career development centers and MBA programs throughout the country.

As CEO of Great Resumes Fast, Jessica enjoys collaborating with forward-thinking professionals and executives, identifying their personal brand and value proposition and leveraging their unique talent, passion, and vision to position them as a leader in their industry. Her passion is helping professionals and executives uncover what makes them stand out in the crowd.

Great Resumes Fast holds membership with the Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals, Career Directors International and the National Resume Writers Association.

For a free resume analysis, e-mail your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com. For a free telephone consultation, call toll free at 1.877.875.7706.