Five Things to Avoid on a Job Interview

People who think the world revolves around them tend to make poor employees. Nevertheless, it’s surprisingly common for job applicants to stall the interviewing process with lengthy narratives about their love lives or car problems, blissfully unaware that they’re making a bad impression. Here are five ways to keep the interview focused on your ability to perform the job, and not on you.

1. Don’t Appear Financially Desperate

Your economic situation is not the interviewer’s responsibility. Individuals are often responsible for their own money problems due to poor planning and bad judgment–two very undesirable qualities in an employee. Even if you’re just the victim of the economy, keep the focus on why you’re good for the job rather than why the job is good for you.

2. Don’t Trash Former Employers

A job interview is not the forum to air past employment grievances, regardless of their validity. If you describe your work history as an endless series of injustices and indignations, you appear unable to accept personal blame. When discussing former bosses, a gracious approach works best–even if you were fired from your last position.

3. Don’t Discuss Your Personal Beliefs

Unless it is relevant to the position, your unsolicited political and religious opinions are inappropriate subjects for a job interview. However, there’s a big difference between spontaneously offering your own views and responding to an interviewer’s comment regarding hers. If she has made her views clear, avoid a landmine by briefly agreeing or keeping your mouth shut. Either way, you’ve passed the test of tact.

4. Don’t Show Off Your Brilliance

Your resume, not your interview, is the place to tout your general accomplishments and abilities. If you go out of your way to appear highly intelligent, it will only make you look foolish. Limit your self-promotion to those traits that make you the best applicant for the job.

5. Don’t Make the Job about You

No matter how well you seem to hit it off with the interviewer, never forget that her only goal is to fill the position with the most competent worker. Whether you’re personally fulfilled or emotionally enriched by the job is irrelevant, and discussing the topic will only make the interviewer wonder if your employment expectations are unrealistic. If you feel passionate about the job and need to say so, put it in the context of making you to be a valuable, conscientious worker.