Author of "Your Journey from Fired to Hired"

Avoid these "Kiss of Death" Interviewing Mistakes

If you’re in the job market, you know snagging an interview request is a huge accomplishment!

And chances are you respect the opportunity.  You stress over what to wear, develop examples that showcase your abilities….and maybe even make a pact that if you can only get this job you will…..fill in the blank with whatever applies.

But do you spend any time thinking about the things you shouldn’t do?  While it’s important to say the right things, the examples below speak volumes to the hiring manger about you, the value you may (or may not) provide to their team and the respect you will offer to them as a manager far more than what you may initially realize.

And while they may seem hard to believe, I’ve personally heard them all.  Even worse, I’m guessing that if you were really honest with yourself, you’ll admit to saying several of them more than once

It’s all about ME! 

From your position, you may feel the questions/statements below are important and “fair game,” but from the interviewers perception they indicate that you are much more concerned about yourself than adding value to the company.

And just a reminder, they are paying you to help THEM be more successful…not to grant your every wish.  In actuality, you will want to know the answers to #1, 2, 4, 8 before accepting a job offer; however, these questions are more appropriately asked if you are invited back for a second interview.

  • How much does this job pay?
  • Can I work from home?
  • I place a very high value on my personal time.
  • How much vacation would I get if I accepted the position?
  • Excuse me….I need to take this call on my cell.
  • How long do we get for lunch?
  • I plan to have your job someday.
  • The job does include health insurance right?

Personality Red Flags:

Having successfully interviewed more candidates than I care to remember, I’ve always felt like the interview process is really somewhat of a crap shoot.  And my colleagues agree.

We spend 1-2 hours talking with you, perhaps call a couple of references (selected by you of course) and then make a decision.  The only saving grace is that successful hiring managers have a sixth sense to make some sense of the madness.

The secret 6th sense involves your personality.  While you may not realize it at the time, every statement you make tells the potential interviewer something about you, your drive and your ability to be a productive employee for them.

Some of the most flagrant red flags are shown below…and yes, I’ve personally heard all of these…several times!

  • I’ve never made a mistake or don’t have any weaknesses. For more on this topic, give this a read.
  • Oh sorry, I’m rambling. I do that.
  • I don’t really like change.
  • I’ve always been the one that gets all the work done.
  • Oh I’m personal friends with…..
  • I’ve had several bosses that were just horrible.
  • I get bored easily.
  • I’ve just had some really bad luck with my last 3-4 positions.

No Initiative:

Every hiring manager plans to hire a rock star for several reasons.

While it may seem cold, their initial thought is self-preservation.  By making a good candidate selection, they make their lives easier.  Team members like you, work quality is good and done on a timely schedule and they have minimal HR issues to address.

But secondly (and perhaps more importantly), managers are judged by their ability to add highly productive and successful talent to the organization.  So it’s critical that you display a passion for the opportunity during your interview.

The statements below make you appear lazy and lacking both direction and motivation: 

  • 5 year plan? I don’t really have one.  I’m much more of a day to day kind of person.
  • No I don’t have any questions. Not sure what questions to ask?  Check this out for some ideas.
  • You know, I’ve never really had a career plan…good things just kind of come my way.
  • I’m really more of a big picture guy and don’t really like all the details.
  • My last job was just way to stressful. I’m looking for a more relaxed environment.
  • I’m kind of done with learning new things.
  • I’m not really a morning person. Is a late start a possibility?
  • We do have access to social media at work right?

NO Respect for Interviewer Time:

Just a fair warning, I’m about to climb back up on my soapbox again.

Times have changed and managers are rarely able to “simply” manage.  Instead, they are expected to be “working managers” and have additional duties besides the management element.

What this means is that they are busy…very busy!  And in order to survive they must be excellent time managers.  The statements below show a huge disrespect for their time and consequently something you won’t likely recover from.

  • Not sure I’m really interested. I just wanted to find out more about the position.
  • I don’t know much about your company. What do you guys do?
  • I’m not really that interested in the position.
  • Honestly, I haven’t interviewed for a while and just wanted some experience.
  • So, how long have you guys been in business?
  • Anything that conflicts with the stated job description like travel, extra hours etc.
  • So I know we’ve gone way over, but I’d really like to tell you some things you haven’t asked about.
  • I really don’t want to leave my current position, but getting another job offer is the only way to get a raise.


You see, statements and questions like those above, leave the hiring manager feeling lackluster about you and your abilities.

Instead you want to: showcase the value you offer, a strong personality that works well with others, a motivated persona and respect for the time of your potential new boss.

Making statements that conflict those goals can literally be the “Kiss of Death” for your job prospects.

I’d love to hear from you….what interviewing mistakes have you made?

Article written by:

Kathi Miller-Miller is a sought after career specialist and author of “Your Journey from Fired to Hired.” Kathi draws on her 25+ years of success (and failures!) to offer her readers advice on topics ranging from dealing with a boss that drives you crazy to managing millennials...all in a light-hearted and easy to read style.

Join the discussion

  1. eddie mars

    I didn't ask enough questions to show interest and to learn from people who were in the positions that I was interviewing from.

    1. what is the most challenging part of the job to you?
    2. What is the most rewarding part of the job to you?
    3. What are three things that would make me the most effective in this position?

    • Kathi Miller-Miller


      Greetings and a warm welcome to us here at Kathi Miller-Miller! And thanks SO much for sharing your interview "mistakes." They are definitely good additions that serve as a good reminder to us all. I especially like your last question regarding the 3 things that would make you effective in the position. It shows the interviewer that you are focused on doing great work, but as the candidate, it also helps you cut through the chatter and identify specific skill sets and experiences that allow you to showcase yourself both as a candidate and an employee. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. ikechi

    Hi Kathi

    What an interesting post and you certainly nailed the point about interviewing mistakes. Looking at the errors that are made by Job applicants, I really amazed. I guess one really needs to be prepared so as not to flag a red.

    Thanks for this great post. Have a wonderful week

    • Kathi Miller-Miller

      Greetings Ikechi and thanks for the visit to Kathi Miller-Miller! I'm glad you found the post valuable. And you are sp right, as with anything in life, preparation is a must! Make it a great day!

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