What NOT to Do in an Interview!

What NOT to Do in an Interview!

10 Oct 23 2mins Anna Miller


Over the course of tens of thousands of interviews spanning many years and many organizations, the interviewers here at JMA have pretty much seen it all… the good, the bad, and the downright embarrassing! For your entertainment (not education, we hope!), we’ve compiled a list of what NOT to do in an interview, all taken from real-life events.

  • Do NOT show up for a video interview without a shirt on. Yep, that actually happened.  
  • Do NOT come to an interview directly after you’ve been to the gym, with sweat streaming from every pore. At JMA we champion wellbeing, but we generally appreciate interviewees who are not hot and bothered.  
  • Do NOT allow your beloved fur babies to wander aimlessly during a video interview. We embrace the nuances of working from home, but it’s rather distracting to see nine cats parading across an interviewee’s desk like it’s a feline runway. 
  • Do NOT conduct a video interview from your bed. This is a situation which has, bizarrely, occurred to us a number of times in our professional careers, and not just during COVID. The decision to have what we hope is an important professional discussion in that location makes us seriously question your judgment. And trust us – that camera angle is not as flattering as you might think. 
  • Do NOT go for a 30-minute jog during a phone interview. Just don’t do it. 
  • Do NOT get into a heated argument with your partner during a virtual interview. While we executive search consultants are happy to dispense professional and personal advice, it’s awkward to have to take sides. 
  • Do NOT speak about yourself in the third person. You’d be amazed at how many candidates do this! Please reserve this for your next attempt at Shakespearean poetry. 
  • Do NOT attempt to participate in two video meetings simultaneously. While modern technology allows for a certain flexibility, until you can successfully clone yourself it’s wise to stick to one meeting at a time. 
  • Do NOT ask if there will be mandatory drug testing during the client interview process. We’re sure you’re just “asking for a friend”, but seriously, it raises too many questions. 

We know everyone has an off day every now and again, so we hope the fine individuals who inspired these stories continued on a path to professional greatness! We’d love to hear about your memorable interviews (bonus points if they’re funny), so drop us a line here with any (anonymized) stories…