I’ll start this off with something we all know: job interviews are stressful. No matter how long you’ve been doing them, there’s no anxiety like walking into a room and realizing you’re going to be judged by the people who hold your future in their hands. Interview pressure can bring out the worst in all of us, revealing the part of our personality that we keep deep, deep down inside.
While good interviewers are empathetic to the pressure you’re feeling, there are certain interview personalities that are difficult to accept. Thankfully, we can recognize our worst tendencies and work to change them. Here are five personalities that never succeed in interviews. Do you have one when you’re under pressure?
1. The kiss up
The kiss up starts schmoozing from the second they enter the interview room, hoping overt flattery will help them out in a tough interview. They know and love anything and everything about the organization, the job and the interviewers. They focus more on the accomplishments of their interviewers than on their own resume. And they spend more time name dropping than dropping any memorable insights into their interview. While everyone appreciates a little bit of love, the kiss up takes flattery to the next level. While they may make it past the first interview on honeyed words alone, it’s hard for them to beat candidates who show real potential.
2. The too cool for school
This personality glides into an interview with the impression that they have this one in the bag — without trying. Often the result of denying their true emotions (read: fear), the "too cool for school" convinces themselves that they’re too qualified for this role (or for the employer they’re interviewing with). They don’t show any sign of doing extra research, they are short and cold with their answers, and they inject sarcasm into all of their interactions. Standoffish, brutish and a bit rude, their confidence isn’t the convincing kind. Their demonstrated lack of interest leaves out one of the primary qualities interviewers are looking for: well... interest. This results in the too cool for school never landing a second interview.
3. The victim
The victim has a knack for deflecting every hard question they’re asked in an interview, often because they feel insecure in their abilities. When asked about a challenge they’ve faced at work, they throw a former colleague under the bus. When asked about a career gap, they bash a former boss with a vendetta. And when asked about a weakness, they assure you that they don’t have any… except being too trusting or too perfect. The victim is unable to see their flaws or work towards their solutions, one of the top qualities interviewers are looking for. This results in most victims getting rejected — ASAP.
4. The slacker
You know the slacker from the second they step in the room. They are not prepared for the interview. Not out of malice, but because that’s how they are. The slacker knows little about the company, doesn’t understand the role and shows other signs that they just don’t care about the details. For example, they might have the wrong name for the interviewer… who emailed them a million times. Everyone can tell they aren’t living up to their potential and that really hurts their chances of landing the job.
5. The brick wall
As the result of nerves, the brick wall takes professionalism to a whole other level. Their demeanor and communication are rigid, and they avoid any opportunities to small talk. They have obviously rehearsed answers to the common interview questions and are caught off guard by colorful questions. Their true personality — the one that lives underneath this one — is basically indecipherable. Their interviewer is unable to tell if they would enjoy working with this candidate, landing their application in the no-go bin instantly.