Huffpost Women
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jocelyn Greenky Headshot

10 Fatal Distractions That Will Kill That Interview

Posted: Updated:
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Aside from all that talking in an interview, there's the matter of the rest of you. The interviewer will definitely have some strong reactions to things she doesn't want to have to see, smell or deal with in the office every day.

First of all, no matter what shape your body is in, if you drag it in late to the interview, you are D-O-N-E. There is only one excuse good enough to show up late for an interview -- and that's the fact that you were mugged on the way in. Which, btw, did happen to one of the girls who calls me all the time. And she had to borrow $20 bucks from the interviewer for cab fare home. And she got the job -- pretty hard not to be impressed by someone who shows up for a job interview right after she's been assaulted. Talk about a dramatic entrance.

Once you show up promptly for your interview, nothing about your body -- that can reasonably be helped, anyway -- should be disturbing to the interviewer. She will not hear one brilliant word you say if she is distracted beyond repair.

1. Slouching. We're sorry, did we wake you? Slouching says no energy, no grooming, no self-awareness or confidence. Even if you are a slumper by nature, pretend for half an hour that you are interested, have a pulse and have respect for the interviewer.

2. Asphyxiating. The interviewer will not be able to concentrate if you are freshly drenched in DK1 or any other pungent perfumes. Besides, he might be allergic, or maybe that's the same scent his hated ex used to wear. My scent suggestion: Nothing smells more like success than Ivory soap.

3. Being a smelly cat. You CAN'T smell like anything bad, including but not limited to: McDonalds, the cab, cigarettes, coffee, B.O., the bar from last night, stinky socks or any other smelly smells. Brush your teeth right before the interview. Altoids, darlings, Altoids. (Note to selves: see if we can get Altoids to create an "interview mint.")

4. Bad mouthing. Speaking of teeth... yellow ones are a yucky distraction. You want to smile, smile, smile (but no giggling). If your teeth look anything like the inside of the coffee cup you left on your desk yesterday, go get 'em shined at the dentist. Bleach 'em baby. Bleach 'em.

5. Gum chewing. You definitely don't want the interviewer to come anywhere near thinking the word "cow."

6. Clock watching. Don't check your watch. You have all the time in the world; the interviewer does not. Never say you have to get back to work... the interviewer will think that you are presumptuous and/or don't care enough. If you are not sure how long the interview will take, take a personal day. Whatever you do, don't yawn, no matter what time it is.

7. Clammying. Sweaty anything is O-U-T. Just because you are nervous, doesn't mean you're allowed to let them see you -- or, God forbid, feel you -- sweat. Give those hands a good wipe before you shake. If you are prone to upper-lip sweat, bring a hanky. Wear a jacket too.

8. Creating a nail situation. No chips, no outgrowth, no polish on the cuticles. Go neutral on the colors: no flaming red, no decals, no Howard Hughes-length nails. And definitely don't show up at an interview with your nails bitten down to nubs. Oh no, she might be a hair chewer too!

9. Chewing on hair. And, while I'm at it, unclean hair. Again, I'm back to the merits of soap. It's gross to show up with anything but clean hair. For you women out there who couldn't pull it together, pull your hair back.

10. Weeping. Big girls don't cry. No matter how nasty an interviewer may be, or how hard she might try to unnerve you or make you look stupid -- which some will do -- do not spring a leak until you are way off premise. It does happen. One of the girls who calls me all the time told me about a male interviewer who told her that her haircut was "unbelievably unattractive and that it was distracting him." She cried on the spot. Um. she didn't get that job, but then again, who would want to work with that guy, anyhow?

Send me stories of good or bad interviews at Jocelyn@SiderRoad.com.