20 Ways to Annoy Your Job Interviewer

It's not just what you say during the interview. Make your lasting impression a good one.

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Karen Burns
At a job interview, it’s not just what you say. It’s what you do, too.

While wowing hiring managers with your knowledge and enthusiasm, keep in mind that they’re watching what you do as well as listening to what you say. So ask yourself: Do you have any annoying mannerisms? Hiring managers assume that if you are a little annoying at an interview, you’ll be much more so once you’re hired and, presumably, off your guard.

Lasting impressions are formed within 90 seconds of first meeting. So make an effort not to do any of the following at job interviews:

  1. Gum chewing
  2. Hair twirling
  3. Slouching
  4. Avoiding eye contact
  5. Knee jiggling
  6. Drumming your fingers
  7. Sighing (or yawning)
  8. Nail biting
  9. Playing with your pen
  10. Lip smacking
  11. Checking your cellphone
  12. Key jingling
  13. Sniffling
  14. Kicking the interviewer’s desk or chair
  15. Toe tapping
  16. Picking at, rubbing, or scratching any part of your body
  17. Waving your hands while speaking
  18. Tugging at your cuffs or at the hem of your skirt
  19. Resting your chin in your hand
  20. Smiling too much (or not smiling at all)
  21. Bet you didn’t know there were so many ways to be annoying! Before your next interview, ask a trusted friend/advisor if you are guilty of any of the above. Or videotape yourself answering questions.

    It could be the best thing you do for your job hunt.

    Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at karenburnsworkinggirl.com.