No one wants awkward moments to happen at job interviews. But they do. From an accidental burp to clammy palms.

Today, job interviews are conducted in many formats. Some are conducted virtually, over a phone call, at a coffee shop, or the traditional in-person office meeting. No matter how the interview is conducted, it still requires professionalism. By paying attention to interview etiquette, you can avoid awkward situations and make a positive impression on the potential employer.

8 awkward things to avoid doing at a job interview:

  1. Arriving late carrying a specialty coffee, or any food product. What they see, is that your priority is to satisfy your urge instead of being punctual.
  2. Ending the interview early. This is poor planning on your part. When a company is interested, the interview is often extended, which is a good thing! If you had a prior engagement that you couldn’t reschedule, inform them in advance. Don’t end the interview because you have a lunch date, or because you decided that you’re no longer interested in the position.
  3. Texting or taking a call during the interview. Unless there’s a serious personal situation that requires your attention, don’t even look at your phone. Responding to a fake text does not make you look important or that you’re in demand.
  4. Arriving with pet in tow, then handing it off to the receptionist. If you can hand it off, it’s not with you for support. If you are bringing your support or service animal to the interview, disclose it in advance. This allows the company time to make special arrangements or alert the person interviewing you in case they are sensitive to pet hair.
  5. Making requests. If you’re offered water, don’t ask for a lemon. Don’t ask for a more comfortable chair. Don’t ask to use the conference room for an interview you’ve got scheduled later. These are all red flags to an employer.
  6. Complaining. Do not complain even if your commute was horrific, your ex-boss is a real jerk, your coworkers never invite you to happy hour, or you’ve got loads of personal drama. A job interview is not a venting session. Your list of complaints is a big red flag for an employer.
  7. Smelling funky. Lack of hygiene will cut the interview short unless it’s being held outdoors. If you have a once-a-week bathing policy, plan it so that you bathe the morning of the interview. Put on clean clothes. If you smoke, air yourself out and wash your hands to help diminish the odor.
  8. Bragging or lying that you have multiple offers. If you’re that much in demand, they’ll release you and select someone who really wants to work for their company.

Final Thoughts:

If you focus on learning about position and telling them why you’d be a good fit, you’re nerves will diminish and so will the chances of an awkward moment. Pretending to be more experienced, more knowledgeable, or more in demand than you really are, will eventually slip during the conversation. Especially if the person interviewing you is experienced.

Etiquette Expert/Trainer, Author, Media Source 

Nationally recognized etiquette expert with over twenty years of providing trainings, and serving as a source for media.

Trainings are available for: corporations, sales teams, on-boarding, to support code-of-conduct policies to set a standard for employees, universities/college groups, school staff, customer service staff, dining etiquette programs for youth through adult, and actors preparing for audition/roles.


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AVAILABLE at Amazon or Barnes and Noble: “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom”, “Keep Your Distance!”





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