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Kick your Interview Bad Habits

Lent has begun and lots of you will be trying to kick those bad habits for as long as you can – giving up crisps / sugar / booze are the obvious ones, but have you ever thought about your bad habits at work or even during an interview process?

One bad habit could put your interviewer off straight away, no matter how great your experience is. Likewise, if you start a new role with  bad habits, these will stick in your colleague’s minds from day one.

From the moment you meet your interviewer – the handshake, smile & opening sentence, the manner in which you present yourself plays an extremely important role in whether the interviewer regards you as a good fit for the role you’ve applied to. Some bad habits which I have come across and which have immediately made me question the individual’s suitability for the role are:

1. Tapping your fingers on the table during the interview

Tapping your fingers on the table is a nervous habit which many people have while interviewing – for the interviewer it comes across as very rude, as if you want to hurry the interview along / don’t have time for it. It will also be one of the main things your interviewer notices and remembers from your meeting – cut this habit and make sure they come away thinking about your answers to their questions instead!

2. Fidgeting

This is one of the habits I see the most and would be mainly down to nerves. You need to be really aware of what you’re doing with your hands – if you fidget you’re going to distract your interviewer who will be more aware of your fidgeting than what you’re actually saying during the interview. Likewise, be aware of being too animated during your interview – again this will distract your interviewer and can be especially frustrating when they are trying to concentrate on what you’re saying. It is okay to use hand gestures during an interview, just try to keep them small – if this is something you know you do, maybe try holding something in your hand, i.e. a pen, which will make you more aware of what you’re doing with your hands.

3. Playing with your hair

Playing with my hair is one of my own bad habits, and certainly shouldn’t be done during an interview. Keep your hair neat and off your face when attending an interview, you don’t want to look scruffy. Like it or not, appearance plays a major role in establishing a strong first impression. As a woman, playing with hair can often come across as flirtatious even if that is far from the truth. Research shows that it can be interpreted as a childish behaviour, which is not the impression to give to a potential employer. 

4. Chewing gum

Chewing gum in an interview is unprofessional and distracting for the interviewer. There is absolutely no need for it and I come across this far too much – if you’re worried about your breath have a mint before your interview starts!

5. Not listening & interrupting

If you’re looking for a job in recruitment then not listening to the questions or interrupting your interviewer immediately tells them that you’re not right for the role. Listening to what your candidates and clients want is a really important part of a recruitment consultancy role, so if you can’t show that you can do this you might as well wave goodbye to a job in recruitment. Some people will find that they do this out of nerves and wouldn’t do it should they be in the role, so make sure you’re aware if this is one of your habits and control it during the interview.


It’s that time of year when we are trying to stop our bad habits – if you’re looking for a new job, make sure you kick off any bad habits that you have during the interview process, it will make things a lot easier for you in the long run and you don’t want to miss out on your perfect opportunity over a bad habit which can be easily avoided!

  • Feb 11, 2016
  • Careers , Culture
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