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Ask Vicki: What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve seen as a recruiter?

In this answer on Quora, Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi shows you what not to do when you sit down for your job interview.

Ask Vicki: What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve seen as a recruiter?

Vicki Salemi

Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to

Vicki Salemi

Q. What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve seen as recruiter?


A. One of the worst interview mistakes I’ve seen involves candidates not researching the company–then making mistakes like referring to the wrong industry or mispronouncing the company name. Hint: Call the main number and simply listen to the receptionist answer the phone with the company name, then hang up. Prevent this mistake by doing more homework than you need to do–school yourself on the company’s headlines in the news and what their competitors are up to.


Another big interview mistake I’ve seen involves lack of focus. Qualified candidates sometimes made faux pas by not being able to speak confidently and clearly–this includes speaking too much, not pausing or taking a silent moment to gather thoughts. I’ve seen candidates get nervous (that’s not uncommon), but the true test was seeing how they gathered their composure to speak articulately and provide examples about their work experiences.

Here's another interview mistake I saw too often: pushing back. When I recruited for one specific role, I always had to conduct a specific administrative online test after the phone interview. If candidates didn’t pass the test, they didn’t make it to the first round of office interviews. One of the worst mistakes people can make involves questioning why there's a test or saying it's unfair or not doing it within the 48-hour timeframe. That automatically put up a red flag–every single time I got test results back, I wasn’t surprised. The same people who pushed back were the ones who failed the test.

Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve seen as a recruiter?" on Quora.

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