When it comes to bad job interview behavior, ‘word does get around,’ says career expert—here’s what you shouldn’t do

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A job interview is a face-to-face opportunity to prove to an employer why you’re the right fit for the role. So it goes without saying when you get one, be on time, dress appropriately, be respectful — just generally be on your best behavior.

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks about how they act in this scenario.

Vicki Salemi spent many years in HR and recruiting before becoming Monster’s career expert in 2015. And while most job candidates were composed during the interview process, she and her colleagues encountered a few whose behavior raised some eyebrows.

Here’s one of the worst interviews Salemi has ever heard about.

‘It was just like, “I’ll be done when I say I’m done”‘

A job candidate was waiting in a conference room to be let into the interview. When the recruiter opened the door to tell the candidate the employer was ready to speak to them, the candidate was on the phone. And he held up his finger and told the recruiter he wasn’t finished.

“It was just like, ‘I’ll be done when I say I’m done,'” says Salemi of his attitude. “That was the message that came across loud and clear.”

Not only was the person rude, “it just seemed like the interview was second in his priority that day,” she says. That’s the opposite of how he should’ve been behaving. Salemi can’t remember if that person got the job, but his attitude certainly made the rounds in the HR department.

When you’re interviewing ‘you should be in the zone’

Remember, “the interview does not start during the interview,” says Salemi. “It starts well in advance, even before you step foot in the office for the in-person interview.” It starts when you first interact with that company and employers are looking at every component of it.

When you’re on site to get that in-person time, “you should be in the zone. Don’t have any distractions. Shut off that phone. Someone may text you good luck — everything is a distraction unless you’re completely, 100% focused.” That’s the only way you’ll be able to pay attention to the questions interviewers are asking and the culture you could be entering.

If you’re not there to forge that professional relationship, and if you go beyond that and act inappropriately, you may not just lose out on this particular job. You could lose out on others at the company going forward.

When it comes to how you carry yourself in a job interview, “word does get around,” says Salemi.

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