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How to Blow the Perfect Interview

Interview help to not blow the perfect interview
frustrated guy

You thought your interview went great! You remembered to bring a few copies of your resume, talked about your experience and skills, and even answered all of the interviewers’ questions. Ultimately though, you didn’t get the job. Sometimes you may not be the most qualified candidate for the position. But if you WERE the most qualified candidate, was there anything you might have done (or not done) that destroyed your chances? What interview help could you have needed to make sure you did get the job? I asked a few TriStarr Staffing Managers to share the ways that candidates have blown the perfect interview (and yes, these have actually happened):


  • Toilet flush heard during phone interview.
  • Blowing nose constantly during phone interview.
  • Chomping on food or gum during interview.
  • Rude/condescending to receptionist.
  • Inappropriate attire (crushed velvet/glitter cocktail dress, fishnets, stilettos, sweatpants, shorts, flip flops, etc.)
  • Candidate insulted interviewer on what they were wearing.
  • Bad smells (B.O., smoke, overpowering perfume)
  • Shook hands and then admitted they had a cold.
  • Left their hat/sunglasses on their head.
  • Brought boyfriend/girlfriend/kids/mother to interview.
  • Use of cell phone during the interview.
  • Poor/No eye contact.
  • Excessive talking and oversharing of personal information.
  • Sobbed during interview.
  • Said they didn’t like working with people.
  • Said they didn’t like working with a certain ethnic group.
  • Came in drunk/high to interview (and even asked if we had snacks!)
  • Used foul language multiple times during the interview.



Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity is essential. Your interview basically starts the moment you first make contact with the company/staffing agency, whether it be on the phone or via email. Emails showcase your written communication skills while phone calls highlight your verbal abilities. All of these skills will help you succeed in your interview.



If a recruiter contacts you to schedule an interview, it’s not a good idea to wait five days to reply. A prompt response is another skill for you to showcase. If you say you’re going to call someone back or send an updated resume by a certain time, do it. Or at least let the interviewer know why it didn’t happen when you said it would. This demonstrates your reliability and ability to work within deadlines. And, by all means, do NOT arrive late for an interview, especially without calling. Running late is something that happens in life, but be considerate of the interviewer’s time and take the time to call if you’re going to be late. And when you arrive, apologize (but don’t overdo it) and move on. Display your ability to handle stressful situations by taking a deep breath and focusing on the interview.



The interviewer is not the only person you need to impress when you walk in the door. Make sure you’re positive, polite, and pleasant to everyone you meet at the company. If you’re rude to the receptionist or the president happens to walk through the lobby when you’re arguing with someone on your cell phone, this affects how you are perceived as a potential employee, and no amount of interview help might make a difference. Whether you are interviewing at a company or a staffing agency, you should always be on your best behavior. If you are rude, argumentative, or condescending at your staffing agency interview, that agency will hesitate to put you in front of their clients.



There are bad smells and there are good smells, but the goal is to remain neutral. Make sure you shower, brush your teeth, use deodorant, wear clean clothes, and only put on a tiny amount of cologne or perfume if you choose to. If you smoke, don’t do it right before your interview and be sure to use mouthwash. Reeking of smoke or overpowering cologne can be extremely distracting. Smell should not be the main thing your interviewer notices about you.



Your clothing should not make a negative first impression. If you’re interviewing for an office job, dress as if you already have an office job. Flip flops, shorts, and cocktail dresses are not appropriate office wear, nor are they appropriate interview wear. Google “business casual/professional” and you will find lots of suggestions. Always be sure to inquire about the expected dress code prior to your interview if there are any questions. In rare cases, being over-dressed can be as detrimental as being under-dressed.

Another fashion tip when it comes to job interviews: leave the piercings out, cover the tattoos up, and tame the hair (no crazy colors, mohawks, etc.) Yes, these are all ways that people express their personal style, but they are just not acceptable in many offices. Can you go to an interview with piercings, visible tattoos, and flourescent dreadlocks? Sure. Just realize that by doing so, it may drastically limit your job options.



It’s okay to be nervous when you are interviewing. Interviewers understand nervousness. What’s disconcerting is when an interviewee Doesn’t. Crack. A. Smile. Like, at all. Not when they first meet the interviewer. Not when the interviewer tries to break the ice and joke about the crazy weather outside. Not when the interviewer smiles at them. You should try to make a connection with the interviewer. Smiling conveys a sense of calm, control, confidence, and likeability. Sometimes, you’ve got to fake it til you make it. Practice smiling in the mirror. Those tiny muscles in your face can make or break the interview.



Making small talk is fine, just don’t overshare. Telling the interviewer details about your personal life, health, finances, etc. is not professional or appropriate during an interview. And keep answers to questions brief, without rambling or veering off topic. Stay clear of asking about benefits/perks/salary during an intitial interview unless a hiring manager brings it up first.




Walking into an interview with a negative attitude is never the way to go if you want the job. It doesn’t matter if you’re frustrated with your finances, your personal life, or your job search so far. You need to put all of that behind you and put your most positive foot forward. If you go into an interview angry, irritated, worried, defeated, or depressed, it will show – and affect a person’s impression of you. Your future coworkers are not looking for a teammate who’s negative or a downer. I had a great fortune cookie message recently: “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power, and influence.” Approach life with a can do attitude and your interview luck may change.




You may be the only candidate being interviewed for the position, but then again, you may not be. If you want to stand apart from your competition, send a simple thank you note or email, reiterating your interest in the position and the company. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Just make it brief, polite, and send it within a day of your interview. You would be amazed by how often that is a deciding factor for a hiring manager.


Take these potential pitfalls into consideration and, instead of blowing it, next time you may Rock the Perfect Interview!


Video interview? Check out my post here on the best tips and tricks to have a successful video interview for your next job.

TriStarr is consistently ranked as one of the best staffing agencies in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. Skilled in customer service and consulting, TriStarr’s team is able to offer expertise in staffing servicesrecruitingHR management, hiring needs, and temp-staffing. If your business needs to find top talent for open positions, TriStarr can help. Interested candidates seeking work can also apply on our website for any open positions available. Contact us today to see how we can partner together.

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