By Dave Parker July 30, 2015

10 Pitfalls That Can Hold You Back From Being Hired

Interpersonal skills can help—or hurt—your path to landing a job just as much as technical skills. Check yourself for these 10 pitfalls to make sure they won’t stand between you and your dream job.

10. Acting like you already know everything

It sounds silly—of course no one knows everything! But the type of responses that some people give in either the interview or in team meetings implies that they think they know it all … and aren’t open to learning new things.

9. Thinking that you are the center of the universe

The world doesn’t revolve around you, but you’d never know it by the way you talk. Give and put others first, and you will reap the benefits.

8. Oversharing

Someone asking you, “How are you doing?” isn’t permission to tell him or her deep, dark secrets or intimate details. Know the context of the discussion and where it’s appropriate.

7. TLDR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) emails

Sending the hiring manager or your past manager an excessively long email guarantees that they won’t read it. Reference point #10 above. If you find yourself writing long missives, pause and ask yourself, “What’s the point?” Boil it down and send that instead.

6. Lacking self-awareness

Do you have a clear perception of yourself—strengths and weaknesses? If you don’t, ask people who know you well where you might need to grow. And, of course, take and apply the feedback—that’s the point!

5. Lacking personal hygiene

I knew I had become a manager when I told someone that they needed to bathe. Please don’t be that person!

4. Not playing well with others

Every company is hiring for you to be part of a team. That means you need to interact with others. If you take pride in being a solo player, you won’t land that amazing job with the amazing team.

3. Not being prepared

There is a lot of research you need to do about the company before you get there. Do your homework in advance—it’s obvious if you haven’t.

2. Not meshing well with company culture

You don’t set company culture—you are part of it. If you have an overly casual personal brand or some of your own quirks, you may need to change. Don’t let your preference for wild facial hair, graphic tees, or lack of personal bubble keep you from a great job.

1. Being late

The hiring manager doesn’t care if traffic was bad or if your cat overslept. Be early and you won’t have to apologize.


Getting ready for an upcoming interview? Check out our list of what to do (and what not to do) in a job interview.