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Breath mint? Check. Deodorant? Check. Outfit that's not too casual, not too dressy? Check.
No, this isn't a list of what you should do before a date — it's the steps you should take before you show up to your next job interview. A 2017 survey from recruiting software company Jobvite asked recruiters what would automatically disqualify a candidate during an interview — and many of their answers showed just how easy it is to make a deal-breaking slip-up.
- 86%: being rude to the receptionist
- 71%: checking your phone
- 58%: showing up late
- 52%: bad hygiene (make sure you do the sniff test!)
- 39%: interrupting the interviewer
- 24%: too-casual dress
- 14%: bringing a beverage (finish that Starbucks first!)
- 6%: a bad handshake
- 5%: too much makeup (eye roll)
- 4%: poor fashion
- 1%: not enough makeup (double eye roll)
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Turns out, recruiters have seen a lot of strange — and some downright inappropriate — stuff happen in the interview room: 54% have interviewed a candidate who didn't know what company they were interviewing for; 32% have witnessed sexual harassment or sexist attitudes from a would-be hire (including 19% who have been hit on!); and 24% have met with a candidate who seemed intoxicated.
Moral of the story? First impressions are everything, and it's easy to give a bad one with even an honest mistake. (I mean, who hasn't brought a much-needed caffeine fix with them to an interview so you come off as pumped and energized about the position?) But if you know some killer answers to some of the most common interview questions — including the always dreaded "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" — then you may have a shot at redeeming yourself.