How to Avoid Making a Bad Impression at an Interview

By Kailey Walters on August 5, 2020

We all know that interviews are a necessary part of the job application process. However, that doesn’t necessarily make the interviews themselves any easier or less nerve-wracking.

If you’re not properly prepared for your interview, it’s certainly all too easy for you to do poorly and leave a bad impression. But if you take the time and effort to prepare yourself beforehand, you should do just fine — hopefully even better than fine! — and leave your interviewers impressed with who you are.

Considering that most interviews are probably being conducted virtually now, here are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid leaving a bad impression during your virtual interview.

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Prepare yourself.

No matter what kind of interview you have, it’s always extremely important to do your research beforehand. Make sure you find out what you need to know about the company you’re interviewing with. Search through the company’s website for information such as their mission statement, what they do, what products and services they offer, their leadership team, and if they’ve been in the news for anything. Doing your homework will be sure to give you a good, solid understanding of who they are as a company, which will definitely show the interviewer that you are serious about wanting to work for their company.

Don’t be late.

Even though your interview is likely happening over Skype, Zoom, or some other videoconferencing application, it’s still super important to be on time. Make sure your computer and all other technical equipment are working properly, including your computer’s microphone and webcam, so that the interviewer will be able to hear and see you well. Have everything ready to go and hop onto the video call at least a few minutes before the scheduled meeting time so you know for sure that you’ll be on time.

Besides, being on time is such an easy thing to do — don’t let this be the thing that trips you up. Unless you have a genuine reason for being late, as in some kind of emergency, you should make every effort to be on time and make a good first impression with your punctuality.

Be nice.

No matter what, you should take care to be kind and friendly to your interviewer. After all, they wouldn’t want to hire someone who acts rude and arrogant — not only would that turn them off during their interaction with you, but it would also not be a good fit for a positive workplace culture.

To avoid leaving a bad impression, make sure to adopt a positive, friendly attitude that makes it clear you would be a good addition to their company. Being personable will also show that you are easy to get along with, which may help the conversation flow smoothly and help you leave a positive impression.

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Be honest.

Definitely do not lie about your job titles and skill set, as a lie is always bound to come back and haunt you later. Instead, be honest about your skills and what you’ve done in the past if your interviewer asks. You will be able to talk about your experiences positively without over-exaggerating the facts.

Ask questions.

At the end of the interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, always make sure to have some questions on hand. Telling them that you don’t have any questions is sure to leave a bad impression — so make it a point to ask several questions in order to show that you’re interested and invested in the position and the company.

However, one question you don’t want to ask (at least not right away) is about salary. During the initial interview, it’s best to focus on conveying your passion and interest in the role and in the company. You should stay away from asking blatant questions about salary because it might send signals to the interviewer that you’re primarily interested in the money (and even if that’s true, you don’t want to show it).

Follow up.

After every interview, it’s crucial to follow up with the person who interviewed you. Aim to contact them within a day or two of completing the interview (don’t wait too long, as they probably have a lot of other things going on and possibly could forget about you). Sending an email is a good, standard way to go — it’s brief, quick, and gets your point across. However, if you want to leave even more of an impression, you can send a personal, handwritten note, which they will be sure to appreciate and see as a sign of your dedication.

There are undeniably many things that could go wrong at an interview, but at the same time, there are so many things that could go right. Make sure you are as prepared as possible, and you will be sure to leave a good impression on your interviewer.

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