Kimberly C. Kisner

5 Ways to Lose Your Dream Job During the Interview Process

If you’ve been on the job search for a while, it’s likely you have a good idea of things you should be doing to land a new job, such as optimizing your resume or building your personal brand online. Of course, you can’t get the job if you don’t make a great impression on your interviewer or potential employer.

But there are also plenty of ways you can ruin your chances of getting a new job. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people kill their chances before they’ve even left their interview. If you’re hoping to land your dream job, here’s what not to do during the job hunt.

1. Blow Off the Phone Interview

If your resume makes it past an employer’s applicant tracking system and impresses the hiring manager, it’s likely you’ll be invited for a phone interview. This is how employers whittle down their list of applicants to decide who they want to bring in for an in-person interview — so you need to be prepared and take the opportunity seriously.

Here’s a great example of what not to do (courtesy of an anonymous employer via MyCrappyResume):

“[I] had a couple of phone screens with clearly drunken candidates. Also had a candidate sweating profusely through interviews and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. (Word to the wise — if you’re THAT sick, reschedule!) Needless to say, none of them were hired!”

It’s also vital that you’re properly prepared for the interview. Sit in a quiet room without distractions, do your research beforehand and ensure you’re actually able to speak on the phone for the allotted time. One job candidate learned this the hard way:

“I was asked to participate in a second phone interview while I was on vacation, and because I was very interested in the job, I obliged. Before I started to answer the first question, my phone completely died. I had no way of retrieving the phone number. Needless to say, I did not get the job.”

2. Talk About Other Job Opportunities

It may sound like common sense, but some job seekers feel the need to be overly honest when interacting with potential employers. There’s always the chance that one opportunity might fall through, so don’t jeopardize one position because you think you might get another.

Obviously, employers don’t like being rebuffed, particularly when they’ve spent a lot of time reviewing your material and preparing for the interview. Here are two real stories that are almost hard to believe:

“Someone once started an interview with me by saying ‘Okay. So, just to set this straight, I did interview for another job that I’m probably going to take if I receive an offer.’”

“During the interview, an alarm clock went off from a candidate’s briefcase. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.”

3. Provide TMI

Unfortunately, there are a lot of jobseekers who have had a tough time landing a new job. Whether you’re a new graduate, an older job seeker or one of the long-term unemployed, it’s likely that you’ve had your fair share of challenges on the hunt for a new position. Sharing these sob stories with employers, however, is not going to get you the job.

One employer tells of an awkward interview situation that illustrates the point:

“I once interviewed a woman and asked her standard interview questions, such as ‘What do you need from a boss?’ To this question, she replied: ‘I need my boss to be my best friend. I’m so lonely. We just moved here a few months ago, and I haven’t made any friends. I need a friend.’”

4. Talk Negatively About Former Supervisors or Positions

It’s easy to blame your former supervisor for issues you faced in the workplace. Sure, venting to a friend or family member can make you feel less angry, but do not bring it into a new job. Applicants who speak negatively about former positions, management or colleagues are not perceived positively by employers — it can often raise a red flag in their eyes if you’re so quick to dish the dirt. In one instance, a candidate spoke badly of customers to his interviewer and ruined his chances of landing the job:

“I was interviewing a young man for a customer service position. He had worked at a hair salon, and in describing his experience there, he said, ‘I had to deal with a lot of old biddies.’ Needless to say, that’s where his candidacy ended.”

5. Act Cocky

Confidence is key on the job search, but cockiness is less than appealing. You certainly don’t want to sound like this jobseeker:

“One time a candidate said he was so well-qualified that if he didn’t get the job, it would prove that the company’s management was incompetent.”

Written By 

Mona Abdel-Halim is the co-founder of, a job application tool that tailors and optimizes your resume for a specific job. You can find Mona and Resunate on Facebook,Twitter, and Google+.


The Five Things Job Recruiters Want From You Now – Do them all to put yourself ahead of the pack.

With too many people looking for too few jobs, employers are being very selective and demanding more than ever from job candidates. Marketing yourself with a résumé that simply explains the things you’ve done in previous positions is not enough. Employers want to understand your ability to add value through results and your potential contribution to the bottom line. Recruiters are looking for people with strong records of accomplishment who stand out from others, because that’s whom they can easily sell to hiring managers.

At, as we recruit for corporate clients, we look for candidates who provide the five following qualifications, which we’ve found hiring managers deem essential:

1. Expertise. In a field where many people have very similar job titles, what makes you stand out? If you have trouble defining your expertise, start by listing your responsibilities at your latest and previous positions and then prioritize them in order of their value to the business. Mark the tasks where you provided substantial results. Then you’ll see your expertise.

2. Success stories. Have you increased revenue or profit? Have you decreased costs or minimized risk? Tell concise success stories of how you met these goals and you’ll make yourself an exceptional candidate. To identify those success stories you must understand how your position and your accomplishments clearly helped the bottom line of the business. That allows you to explain the value you’ve provided in the past and can offer in the future.

3. Recommendations. A recommendation from a manager or colleague is far more valuable than any self-endorsement. LinkedIn lets you show recommendations right on your profile, which creates instant credibility. Be sure to ask recommenders for write-ups that explain your concrete contributions and value to specific projects or areas of business. Ideally you should ask for a recommendation right after you’ve provided those results, as that’s when your value is most appreciated. I offer examples of effective professional recommendations on my own LinkedIn profile at

4. Work samples. Examples of what you’ve done are far more effective that just talking about what you’ve done. Websites, pictures of products and actual products themselves grab an employer’s attention and generate interest. I have offered employers a slide show with pictures of me working, just so they can visualize me effectively laboring in their behalf.

5. A consistent message. Your résumé, cover letter, website, LinkedIn profile and interview remarks should all promote a consistent message. If you change the message in one of those places, update the others. At www.AttractJobsNOW.comwe recommend that whenever a client receives our résumé and cover letter service, they update their LinkedIn profile as well. An inconsistent message clouds the credibility of your accomplishments.

As you conduct your job search, remember that recruiters are evaluated by their ability to find a few of the most highly qualified candidates for any position. The more confident a recruiter feels about your accomplishments and ability to meet the needs of hiring managers, the more interested he or she will be in you as a candidate. Help yourself along by making sure you’ve covered the five points above.

By Jerome Young – founder and president of, a diversity recruiting and job search consulting firm.