Is An Interview Habit Ruining Your Chance of Success?

If you’re getting interviews but no offers, it’s time to look at some interview habits. We’re focusing on some real reasons recruiters are giving for passing on a candidate after an interview. The good thing here is that these are all easy interview habits to correct!


We’re getting really simple and fundamental: listen. So much of communication actually involves not speaking, oddly enough.


A huge way this interview habit tends to manifest is when candidates begin to answer a question before the interviewer has finished asking it. Even if you’re 99% sure of what the interviewer is about to ask, let them finish. First, it’s polite. Second, you may be wrong! Or maybe you’re mostly right but there is an added twist and/or follow-up question. Better still, don’t just let them finish but give a pause, a moment of reflection before you answer.

Personally, I’ve been in many situations, from interviews to first dates, where I’m nervous. My natural tendency was toward that of being verbose and chatty. So I totally understand! I needed to work on this and keep it in check.

Time to answer the question

Now that you’ve listened to the question in total, the next thing is to answer it. This seems super self-evident, but as always, I have a deeper point to make—a method to the madness. Take behavioral-based questions, which we’ve discussed in the past. When asked for an example of something specific, you really must give something specific. An actual time where you experienced something and what you did. This is what the interviewer needs. Anything else doesn’t answer the question.

The unintentionally unanswered question

There are other ways a question may go unanswered. Going back to nerves, you may be telling a story that will help you illustrate the answer to a question. If you get a bit off track or focus, you may forget to close the loop and make the conclusion. In that case, you didn’t answer the question. Simple enough, just make sure you stay focused and drive that answer home.

The deliberately unanswered question

In other scenarios, you may not like the true answer and try to avoid answering the question. Most interviewers will notice this. Often, they’ll ask the question in other ways to follow up. If they stop chasing that question, the pressure may be gone. However, avoidance likely didn’t go unnoticed and will work against you. It’s tough sometimes, but finding a way to give the answer is the best approach.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist