What employers say are their top job interview deal-breakers

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A new survey of hundreds of employers has revealed what candidate job interview behaviours bother hiring professionals the most.

Your job interview begins before you even start answering questions. The time you arrive and how you comport yourself even before meeting with the employer are all fair game. (That’s why the most important sentence you’ll say in an interview sometimes happens before you’ve even sat down.)

The vast majority (86%) of the over 800 recruiters surveyed by recruitment software firm Jobvite agreed that a candidate being rude or dismissive to the receptionist or other support staff was their top job interview deal breaker.

Even if it wasn’t going to help your chances of getting hired, you should just be polite and friendly with everyone you meet. You’ll have a happier life and make more friends. However, apparently some candidates act demanding, condescending, or simply indifferent to people they consider underlings at offices where they interview. They don’t seem to realize that their interviewer will ask the receptionist what their opinion of the candidate was and that this opinion carries a lot of weight.

Another top job interview deal-breaker for the recruiters surveyed is candidates checking their phone during the interview. Seventy-one per cent of employers will immediately reject an applicant who looks at their mobile device.

Showing up late for the job interview and having bad hygiene also top the list of employers’ top reasons to quickly disqualify a candidate during an interview.

The good news about all of these ‘deal-breakers’ is that they have nothing to do with your qualifications, and they can be easily avoided with a little preparation.

Map out the route – or try a dry run – in advance so that you can be on time. Shower and shave before heading out, be friendly with everyone you meet, and turn off your phone. Just like that you’ve avoided some of the top things that bother potential employers.

Here are employers’ top job interview deal-breakers, ranked

Being rude to the receptionist or other support staff – 86%

Checking their phone – 71%

Showing up late – 58%

Having bad hygiene – 52%

Interrupting the interviewer – 39%

Bringing food – 38%

Dressing too casually – 24%

Bringing a beverage – 14%

Bad handshake – 6%

Wearing too much makeup – 5%

Having poor fashion – 4%

Wearing not enough makeup – 1%

While few recruiters say that they will automatically disqualify you for wearing too much makeup or bad fashion — it turns out that dressing too casually for an interview can be a deal-breaker for nearly 1 in 4 recruiters.

The survey noted that male recruiters are more likely to disqualify a candidate for dressing too informally. So, if you know that you will be interviewed by a man, pay particular attention to wearing professional attire. (Although this is just good strategy no matter who you are meeting. Dressing up for a job interview is a sign of respect.)

That same survey also revealed that male recruiters are much more swayed by appearance than females and are more likely to look up photos of candidates online before meeting them in order to form a first impression.

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