6 Surefire Ways to Fail at Your Next Interview

In my long tenure of working, I have interviewed at a lot of companies and I have interviewed a lot of candidates for jobs at my own place of work. As well as looking at what you should do when it comes to interviewing for a job, looking at ways that you can fail at your next interview can be an educational experience. This article will give you some pointers on foolproof ways to fail at your next job interview.

1. Don’t research the company beforehand.

Why bother? You are being interviewed for what you can bring to the table, not on your knowledge of that company. If you had to do that for all of the companies you are interviewing at, you just might get them mixed up. Going into the interview blindly will keep your mind clear and should help you in answering their probing questions.

2. Don’t try to find a contact who works for that company.

Knowing someone who works for that particular company could lead to problems. There could be something in your past with that person that may have a detrimental effect on you getting the job. Your vast resume of job experience, or your stellar educational superlatives, should help you rise to the top of the candidate list. Adding anything else to the mix, like an inside contact within that company, could lead to complications. And utilizing job networking applications like LinkedIn may be difficult, and time-consuming, to use. And do you really want to connect with former colleagues?  You didn’t like most of them anyway.

3. Leave your portfolio of work at home.

If you have worked previously, and this isn’t your first job interview, you probably have a portfolio of your work. If you are a software developer, you probably have examples of code you have written. Or, if you are a graphic artist, you should have a portfolio of your work. But, bringing your portfolio with you is just another thing you’ll have to remember. You want to keep it simple and keep your mind clear of all distractions. If they ask you about your previous work, you should be able to explain it to them. Real-world examples may only complicate matters.

4. Dress casual.

These days business casual is typically the dress of the day. So, why not just jump into that environment for the interview as well. That should show the company that you will fit right into their workplace. In fact, you shouldn’t wear any type of suit, suit jacket, or tie, because it could send the wrong message. You want to fit in with the other employees and dressing casual will show them that you are a team player.

5. Ask about vacation time.

You know that you have that planned vacation to the islands coming up in the summer. And you want to make sure that getting this job won’t hinder going on that vacation. So, rather than waiting for the second interview, or after they have offered you the position, inquire about the vacation right off the bat. It is much better knowing this before you get too far into the interview. And if you aren’t happy with the amount of vacation that they are offering to new employees, voice your opinion. This will show that you have the ability to speak up for yourself.

6. Ask about telecommuting.

It’s the year 2010 right? And companies these days are becoming more and more progressive in their stance toward working from home. You also know that the commute to this company could be pretty taxing on your body if you have to drive in every day of the week. So, make it a point, in that first interview, to let them know that working from home, at least a few days a week, could really benefit your work productivity. Tell them how much time you will be saving not having to commute on those days. You could hit the ground running first thing in the morning and you could also work later in the day.

We all know that a job interview is an anxiety-ridden experience. But, if you really enjoy going to job interviews, by following the advice given above, chances are you’ll be going to a lot of them!

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I am a fellow cubicle dweller and have been working as a software professional for over 20 years. I have a passion site devoted to enhancing your Workspace and Cubicle Accessories. The site is called WorkspaceBliss.com. It used to be called CubicleBliss.com but I wanted to expand my reach to anyone wanting to enhance their own workspace!


  1. David on the 3rd March

    Your list is great. We should emphasize that practicing you speech and style is important. Most people have very little experience selling themselves.

  2. Julius on the 3rd March

    I agree with all of the items in the list. Also, during the interview, most employers would directly ask you what you know about the company. Reading about the company through its website or brochure would show them that you are really interested in the position. Also, I realized through this post that dressing casual is the way to go. We’ve always been taught to dress formal during interviews but I guess it is more important to show the company that you can be one of the team by dressing in neat yet casual clothes

  3. Erica M on the 3rd March

    I asked about the possibility of a telecommute once. Never again…

    • Bob Bessette on the 7th March

      I hear you Erica. Asking about telecommuting should come after you are offered the position. If it doesn’t mean as much to you waiting until you are there for a while would make more sense.


  4. John Braine on the 3rd March

    This was the first thing I read this morning over a bleary-eyed coffee. I was thinking wtf at all of them until looked at the title a bit closer.

    Have to say though, as a designer, I’m never too sure about the suit thing. I always feel completely out of place going for an interview in a suit when everyone else is in jeans t-shirts and hoodies. I have got a good few jobs where I’ve worn jeans to the interview. I wear a suit these days but I leave the suit jacket at home.

    • Bob Bessette on the 7th March

      I guess if you understand the culture of the company a bit better, and have some advanced knowledge of what to wear, then a suit may mot be mandatory. It’s funny, it appears that some commenters did not read the title properly.. 🙂


  5. Luke on the 4th March

    Are you saying to Dress Casual and not research the company before hand? or are you saying to not dress casual and to research the company before hand..

    I got slightly confused whilst reading these, it’s sort of like an agree, disagree, agree, disagree layout you have going on.

    • Bob Bessette on the 7th March

      Hi Luke,
      These are tips on how to “fail” a job interview.


  6. DHaynes on the 4th March

    The title of this post is a bit misleading – it says how to fail but then lists ways to succeed. It was a bit confusing for me at first, as I thought the tone of the article was sarcastic. 🙂

  7. DHaynes on the 4th March

    Nevermind, it IS sarcastic… man I’m confused.

  8. Nathan on the 4th March

    @DHaynes I didn’t catch that right away either, the title and article have conflicting tones xD.

    I’ve had a few professional interviews and I’ve walked away from them with a couple good pointers:

    Dress to impress; not only does it help break the ice, but it makes you more memorable.

    Show enthusiasm; you are interested in working there right, otherwise – why would you bother? Let them know how you can have a symbiotic relationship.

  9. Copen Haigen on the 1st May

    I agree with most of the advice but I do want to add it also depends on the industry. In the software world, you can have a little more freedom. Part of the reason is unavailability of good talent (so employers can’t be too picky) and part is the culture of the company. In the software companies only those employees wear suit when they have to interface with customers. Not wearing a suit and carrying a nice briefcase for a financial job definetly does not bid well.

    I wear business casual with a tie (just because I like to dress up good anyways). Also interview ethics are different from country to country. In most of the middleast and other Asian countries business professional dressing is the norm.

    I don’t ask about vacatiion or telecommuting time. I am not too fond of telecommuting (eventhough it is much convenient) because it has a tendency to affect your performance. Although during the negotiation phase I once asked 1 week off because of a wedding of my niece (since I had to fly out of the state) and they gladly accepted. I think if you have a genuine need to take some time off for any reason, you can request it upfront but not during your interviews.

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