ringier home icon

"Sorry, Job Seeker." – 7 Traits of Unsuccessful Interviewees

Editor’s note: This article was written by our new contributor, Adekunle Adejoke. You can follow her on Twitter – @motwomuch. Enjoy your read!


Despite series of interviews with prospective employers, you are still without a job. Worse still, you don’t recall ever having a wonderful interview experience. You’ll agree with me you haven’t gotten certain things right.

Essentially, job interviews are held for two reasons- to determine if you are interested and fit for the job.  An interview may be the only chance you have to close deals with prospective employers and they approach several methods to discover facts that are even outside your CV.

Interviewers shared their views and here are 7 characteristics they have found of spectacularly unsuccessful interviewees.

  1. Poor dress sense: How would you want to look on your first date? Impressive, of course! You would not want to pass across a negative notion of you. Unfortunately, some interview candidates rarely pay the right attention to their looks. They show up for interviews looking scruffy. Even if they possess all the competence in the world, the Company loses interest. Who would want to hire one who looks like a janitor as a client services executive? (Definitely not me!). As much as possible, look professional enough for the industry you are applying to (what applies in an industry may be different in another). For details, read ‘Office Attires‘ and do remember that a confident smile is the best makeup.
  2. Lack of poise: Unsuccessful interviewees lack confidence because they are inadequately prepared. They give limp handshakes, make poor eye contact with the interviewers, maintain bad postures, and other demeaning nonverbal communications that scream “I am not fit for the job!” If you want to be the best man for the job, you have got to show your prowess – Get all the information you need and use them assertively to show how relevant you will be to the Organisation. You know how high you raise those shoulders when you walk into an examination hall prepared; Interviewers look out for such display of confidence. They understand you might be nervous during the interview but can tell when you don’t know or have what to say. Be confident; You’ve got all it takes!
  3. Bad communication: You will rob yourself of jobs if you are unable to express yourself clearly during interviews. Speaking in hushed tones and worse, making grammatical mistakes will disqualify you for the position. Avoid the use of slangs, curse words, and use formal or technical terms relating to the field; you can easily get yourself accustomed to using these words through practice. Be audible and professional. Do not be afraid to ask employers to repeat questions you do not understand. Clarify ambiguous statements using other words or give good examples where necessary. Jot down some points if you can but remember to maintain eye contact.
  4. Little or no interest in the Company: When you know little or nothing about the Company and have very narrow personal interests, you give the impression of being too fascinated by the job benefits and interviewers may conclude you have no interest in the Company. It’s offensive if you don’t know the Company’s mission statement or most recent performance. Convey interest in the employers by making good use of background information you gather and show genuine enthusiasm for the job by using their products/services.
  5. Claiming false expertise: In other words, making prospective employers believe you possess some qualities you don’t have and eventually get caught during the interview. You either have the right expertise to do the job or you don’t. Interviewers determine this by how well or poorly you defend your skills. Failing to confidently elucidate your accomplishments gives the impression you downloaded a résumé from online samples available on the web. The best way you can enjoy an interview is being confident of who you are. It’s alright to be yourself, nobody is perfect. When asked what your greatest weakness is, emphasise more on how you have been working to overcome it.
  6. Arrogance and narrow-mindedness: Just before you skim this paragraph (probably because you don’t think you belong to this category), take a moment to answer the following questions. Have you ever argued with your interviewer? Have you ever brushed off some questions as unimportant? How well can you take criticisms? Do people think of you as unapproachable (better still, do you think you are)?  Interviewers don’t like to feel they are boring you with questions and you can subtly make them feel so by rapidly giving answers without giving much thought to questions. Listening is perceived as a very good skill during interviews, sometimes it gives you hints on what the employer wants, even if he does not say it outright. Avoid arguments and learn to handle criticisms maturely. Who knows, that may just be the testing ground.
  7. Forgetting to ask questions: My first job interview was a phone interview. After responding to several questions, I was confident I had impressed the interviewer and undoubtedly was the best fit for the job; but just before I got caught up in the euphoria, I got an instant feedback from the interviewer who bluntly stated he was very disappointed I didn’t ask any question during the interview; For that sole reason he thought me unfit for the job. Perhaps in your opinion, the interviewer was cruel in his judgement but employers are interested in candidates who show keen interest in the job they are applying for by asking smart questions related to the job or Organisation. It cost me one good job, it may have cost you a few too. Do a proper research and ask relevant questions that will show how proactive you are.Every job interview should be a learning experience for you and a guide to ace your next interview; it becomes frustrating however when you still get those ‘sorry’ feedbacks.  You may not get detailed feedbacks on previous interviews that critically point out your flaws but in the place of thorough practice with friends, mentors etc; you can discover and correct these mistakes. Perhaps you missed a job opportunity because you were insincere about your skills and accomplishments; be truthful next  time. Lastly,  take the time to tweak your résumé, have your mind fixed more on the job while you diligently prepare to ace that interview.


Do share your comments and suggestions in the section below. Warmest Regards.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell