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This is the worst thing you can ever do in a job interview

Plus others you should definitely avoid

This is the worst thing you can ever do in a job interview
Tom Victor
12 March 2018

No matter how many times you’ve had successful job interviews, there’s something about them that means you can never relax beforehand.

Maybe it’s because pressure can get to everyone, or because you forgot to do the ‘friends test’, or maybe it’s because of that dream you had where you showed up to an interview just wearing your pants, but there’s always that little bit of uncertainty between waking up and sitting down in front of your interviewer.

You might panic about getting the name of the company wrong, or accidentally calling the interviewer ‘mum’ – and if you weren’t worried about those things then you probably are now.

However, it turns out the worst thing you can do isn’t related to any of this. It’s not even related to any of your answers to their questions.

The worst thing you can do in an interview? Turn up late

SimplyHired has spoken to hundreds of hiring managers (in the US, in their case, but it still applies universally) to find out what they look favourably upon from candidates… and what they don’t.

There are some things you already knew aren’t a good look – for example, 77% aren’t fans of those who answer questions incorrectly, while 76% might put a cross next to your name if you avoid eye contact.

However, the biggest no-no? Showing up late.

Three quarters of hiring managers will be impressed if you show up early, while 93% look unfavourably upon anyone who doesn’t make it along for the designated start time.


The problem with showing up late is twofold: not only does it paint a picture of someone who might not be as reliable as their peers, but it leaves the interviewer with less time to grill you about everything else (or pushes everyone else’s interview back).

While there was consistency across the board, with almost everyone less likely to hire someone who showed up late, the number rose from 93% overall to 99% for hiring managers in their 50s.

There are bigger generational gaps in other areas: 41% of those in their 50s would be put off by candidates having tattoos, compared to just 22-23% of younger hiring managers, while gimmicks such as showing up with baked goods or gifts are frowned upon by older hiring managers but closer to 50:50 for those in their 40s or younger.

Here’s the full list of biggest gripes: