Top interview ways to NOT get the job (New Grad RN)

Nurses General Nursing

Published

I have an interview coming up and would like some advice, especially from interviewers, in what NOT to do/say at an interview. What things are going to kill the interview? Any & all advice is appreciated. If you have positive things to recommend that would be great too. :)

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health.

Things Not To Do During An Interview

This is a list of actual interview incidents (from a consultant who surveyed 100 top executives for their most unusual applicant experience).


  1. Said he was so well-qualified, that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent.
  2. Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.
  3. Brought her large dog to the interview.
  4. Chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.
  5. Candidate kept giggling through serious interview.
  6. She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.
  7. Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.
  8. Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.
  9. Asked to see interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.
  10. Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office.
  11. Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.
  12. Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.
  13. Said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.
  14. Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.
  15. Wouldn't get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police.
  16. When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.
  17. Had a little pinball game and challenged me to play with him.
  18. Bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.
  19. Took a brush out of my purse, brushed his hair and left.
  20. Pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.
  21. Candidate asked me if I would put on a suit jacket to insure that the offer was formal.
  22. Said he wasn't interested because the position paid too much.
  23. While I was on a long-distance phone call, the applicant took out a copy of Penthouse, and looked through the photos, stopping longest at the centerfold.
  24. During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's briefcase. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.
  25. A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His side of the conversation went like this: "Which company? When do I start? What's the salary?" I said, "l assume you're not interested in conducting this interview any further." He promptly responded, "I am as long as you'll pay me more." I didn't hire him, but later found out there was no other job offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer.
  26. An applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot in the bus.
  27. His attache opened when he picked it up and the contents spilled, revealing ladies' undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume.
  28. He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated that he would require indoor parking for the moped.
  29. He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.
  30. Candidate said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one.
  31. Asked who the "hot babe" was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.
  32. She threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.
  33. Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk.
  34. Asked if I wanted some cocaine before starting the interview.

KateRN1

1,191 Posts

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management.

Best ways to kill an interview are to not be prepared, to be sloppy in appearance and answers, and to be clearly desperate for the position (even if you are). First appearances are important.

Consider how you're dressed. Wear buisness-appropriate clothing. I always interview in a suit, no matter what the position.

Consider how you smell. Don't smoke before the interview. If you live with smokers (or smoke yourself) buy a bottle of Febreeze or similar and douse yourself with it, including your hair. Don't wear perfume, cologne, or anything heavily scented. Don't drink coffee or eat garlic or other strong-smelling foods immediately before. Eat a breath mint before you enter the office.

Smile, make eye contact, give a decent handshake (firm but not hand-breaking). Address the interviewer as "Mr" or "Ms" unless invited to do otherwise. Don't sit until you're offered a chair, or if a chair isn't offered ask if you may sit.

Sit up and pay attention. Don't slouch, don't fidget. Again, smile and make eye contact. Don't let your face give away any negative impressions.

Investigate the company. Know who they are, what they do, any specialties. If they've been in the news lately, bring it up. Have a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the position. Some of my favorites:

--why is this position open? Is it a new position or did someone leave it? (If it's a recently vacated position, why did the previous person leave?)

--describe your ideal candidate for this position (then compare yourself verbally to the interviewer)

--always ask about staff turnover and the reason for it (there's a big difference between staff turnover for promotions and advancement vs. people leaving for dissatisfaction)

--My favorites: What would your current staff say is the most challenging aspect of this position? What would they say is the greatest reward of this position?

Always take notes about anything the interviewer says. Don't ask about payrates and bennies unless you're offered a position.

At the end of the interview, thank the person for his/her time and ask when a decision will be made. Shake hands, give a business card if you have one (and I would suggest that you have one).

After the interview, send a thank you card or email (or both). Address any questions that the interviewer had that you weren't able to address in the interview and/or remind him/her how you matched up with the ideal candidate that they described for you.

Good luck!

donnasRN

74 Posts

Things Not To Do During An Interview

This is a list of actual interview incidents (from a consultant who surveyed 100 top executives for their most unusual applicant experience).

  1. Said he was so well-qualified, that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent.
  2. Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.
  3. Brought her large dog to the interview.
  4. Chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.
  5. Candidate kept giggling through serious interview.
  6. She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.
  7. Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.
  8. Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.
  9. Asked to see interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.
  10. Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office.
  11. Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.
  12. Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.
  13. Said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.
  14. Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.
  15. Wouldn't get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police.
  16. When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.
  17. Had a little pinball game and challenged me to play with him.
  18. Bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.
  19. Took a brush out of my purse, brushed his hair and left.
  20. Pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.
  21. Candidate asked me if I would put on a suit jacket to insure that the offer was formal.
  22. Said he wasn't interested because the position paid too much.
  23. While I was on a long-distance phone call, the applicant took out a copy of Penthouse, and looked through the photos, stopping longest at the centerfold.
  24. During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's briefcase. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.
  25. A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His side of the conversation went like this: "Which company? When do I start? What's the salary?" I said, "l assume you're not interested in conducting this interview any further." He promptly responded, "I am as long as you'll pay me more." I didn't hire him, but later found out there was no other job offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer.
  26. An applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot in the bus.
  27. His attache opened when he picked it up and the contents spilled, revealing ladies' undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume.
  28. He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated that he would require indoor parking for the moped.
  29. He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.
  30. Candidate said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one.
  31. Asked who the "hot babe" was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.
  32. She threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.
  33. Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk.
  34. Asked if I wanted some cocaine before starting the interview.

This is hilarious, I can't fathom anyone doing any of these! :smackingf

2BSure

267 Posts

Best ways to kill an interview are to not be prepared, to be sloppy in appearance and answers, and to be clearly desperate for the position (even if you are). First appearances are important.

Consider how you're dressed. Wear buisness-appropriate clothing. I always interview in a suit, no matter what the position.

Consider how you smell. Don't smoke before the interview. If you live with smokers (or smoke yourself) buy a bottle of Febreeze or similar and douse yourself with it, including your hair. Don't wear perfume, cologne, or anything heavily scented. Don't drink coffee or eat garlic or other strong-smelling foods immediately before. Eat a breath mint before you enter the office.

Smile, make eye contact, give a decent handshake (firm but not hand-breaking). Address the interviewer as "Mr" or "Ms" unless invited to do otherwise. Don't sit until you're offered a chair, or if a chair isn't offered ask if you may sit.

Sit up and pay attention. Don't slouch, don't fidget. Again, smile and make eye contact. Don't let your face give away any negative impressions.

Investigate the company. Know who they are, what they do, any specialties. If they've been in the news lately, bring it up. Have a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the position. Some of my favorites:

--why is this position open? Is it a new position or did someone leave it? (If it's a recently vacated position, why did the previous person leave?)

--describe your ideal candidate for this position (then compare yourself verbally to the interviewer)

--always ask about staff turnover and the reason for it (there's a big difference between staff turnover for promotions and advancement vs. people leaving for dissatisfaction)

--My favorites: What would your current staff say is the most challenging aspect of this position? What would they say is the greatest reward of this position?

Always take notes about anything the interviewer says. Don't ask about payrates and bennies unless you're offered a position.

At the end of the interview, thank the person for his/her time and ask when a decision will be made. Shake hands, give a business card if you have one (and I would suggest that you have one).

After the interview, send a thank you card or email (or both). Address any questions that the interviewer had that you weren't able to address in the interview and/or remind him/her how you matched up with the ideal candidate that they described for you.

Good luck!

I love everything you said except for the Febreeze. That stuff is as bad as ANY perfume or cologne.

2BSure

267 Posts

This is hilarious, I can't fathom anyone doing any of these! :smackingf

Sounds like a bunch of investment bankers being interviewed!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

102 Articles; 27,612 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

After attending a recent interview, I swiftly decided not to accept the job offer because of the comments being made by the interviewers and the types of questions they were asking.

I felt it was none of anyone's business when one of the managers asked, "So, will this really be your only source of income?"

The same manager also commented, "You're older. Why did you become a late-entry nurse?" I'm 28 years old and I don't consider myself an 'older' person or a late-entry nurse, so that question really offended me.

Another manager was staring me as she commented, "You look nervous. Smile more!" Her observation was probably true, but the nervousness came after the strange comments and questions.

They offered me the job immediately after the interview concluded, but I declined to accept the offer. They were persistent, even going so far as to call me twice weekly for 1 month afterward to see if I was still interested. This is an example of how the interviewer can effectively drive away the interviewee!

2BSure

267 Posts

After attending a recent interview, I swiftly decided not to accept the job offer because of the comments being made by the interviewers and the types of questions they were asking.

I felt it was none of anyone's business when one of the managers asked, "So, will this really be your only source of income?"

The same manager also commented, "You're older. Why did you become a late-entry nurse?" I'm 28 years old and I don't consider myself an 'older' person or a late-entry nurse, so that question really offended me.

Another manager was staring me as she commented, "You look nervous. Smile more!" Her observation was probably true, but the nervousness came after the strange comments and questions.

They offered me the job immediately after the interview concluded, but I declined to accept the offer. They were persistent, even going so far as to call me twice weekly for 1 month afterward to see if I was still interested. This is an example of how the interviewer can effectively drive away the interviewee!

Some people just SHOULD NOT be allowed to interview. Of course, they probably gave a great insight into the culture of the place, which sounds dreadful.

As for this "smile more" stuff it makes me a bit bonkers. When I was younger I was told by someone that I should smile more even when I am getting pooped on from on high -- what a load of nonsense.

donnasRN

74 Posts

After attending a recent interview, I swiftly decided not to accept the job offer because of the comments being made by the interviewers and the types of questions they were asking.

I felt it was none of anyone's business when one of the managers asked, "So, will this really be your only source of income?"

The same manager also commented, "You're older. Why did you become a late-entry nurse?" I'm 28 years old and I don't consider myself an 'older' person or a late-entry nurse, so that question really offended me.

Another manager was staring me as she commented, "You look nervous. Smile more!" Her observation was probably true, but the nervousness came after the strange comments and questions.

They offered me the job immediately after the interview concluded, but I declined to accept the offer. They were persistent, even going so far as to call me twice weekly for 1 month afterward to see if I was still interested. This is an example of how the interviewer can effectively drive away the interviewee!

We're the same age, I don't consider us late-entry! I was actually the minority in all of my prerequisite classes, the majority of students in my classes were older than I was! It seems accurate to assume the facility you interviewed with has a low retention rate, haha.

BTW, isn't there a law prohibiting the mention of age as a factor of hiring/not hiring in job interviews? LOL, I'm not too sure but I've heard something along those lines.

KateRN1

1,191 Posts

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management.
I love everything you said except for the Febreeze. That stuff is as bad as ANY perfume or cologne.

Not if you get the unscented variety. Ozium works well, too.

Music in My Heart

1 Article; 4,109 Posts

Specializes in being a Credible Source.

Easy way to kill an interview: Interrupt the interviewer. I'm continually amazed at how frequently people interrupt and talk over others.

Another easy way: Argue - at all - with the interviewer.

The easiest way to kill the interview: Be late...

I've been the interviewer and had people do both of the first two to me. The interviewer knows that you're on your best behavior so any negative behaviors are rightly seen as the tip of the iceberg and will easily cost you the job.

I've actually done the third... and of course I did not get the job (despite being very well qualified).

Music in My Heart

1 Article; 4,109 Posts

Specializes in being a Credible Source.

Another easy way to kill an interview: Try to crack jokes. You may think it's funny but you may be revealing negative characteristics to the interviewer or simply touching a sensitive place for them.

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