How to (Not) Land A Job: Our Top Interview No-Nos

Staff in living room

Congratulations! Your resume and initial screening have impressed the company recruiters and you’re one step closer to that dream job you’ve had your eye on for the last few months. Now all that stands between you and the position is the all-important, but sometimes intimidating, in-person interview.

So what can you do to help get ready for the big day?  Like so many things in life, preparation for an interview is key. We’ve already taken a look at some tips and prep strategies you SHOULD use, but what are some things you need to avoid during an interview?

After training 300 coding bootcampers over the past year, our team at Grand Circus knows what it takes to nail an interview and, maybe more importantly, what can ruin one. So, we asked them to shed some light on the biggest interview no-nos. Here’s what they shared:

9 Interview No-Nos to Avoid

Kim, Director of Learning“A huge red flag for me is when people already assume we’re best friends and get really casual really quickly. I have a pretty approachable personality and we work in a relatively low key, startup-y environment, so this tends to happen more than you think. While I’m all for showing your personality and being friendly, a certain amount of professionalism should be maintained throughout the interview. Save your slouching-in-the-chair, blackout-weekend-story-telling, jump-in-on-conversations self until you get the job.”

– Kim Driscoll, Director of Learning

Josh, Program Manager

“Don’t say ‘as I said in my resume’ when answering a question – always frame things as though the
interviewer knows nothing about you, and try to keep your answers concise and avoid rambling on for too long.”

                                           – Josh Sheppard, Program Manager


David WolvertonIn a job interview, candidates should never talk badly about a previous employer.  No one likes a complainer or someone who dwells on their bad circumstances. And you don’t want to plant the thought that you might someday talk that way about them.”

– David Wolverton, Instructor 


Peter, Instructor“Don’t bring up pay or vacation time too early!  Let the interviewer bring up pay and wait until the offer to find out or negotiate vacation.”

                                                     – Peter Guenther, Instructor 


Antonella, Junior InstructorCandidates should never boast about having a mastery level of understanding on a topic that they do not.”

– Antonella Solomon, Junior Instructor 


“Never use excuses or blame others in an interview. Tricia, Operations ManagerPity will not get you a job and it’s never a good look to throw someone under the bus ––– use specific examples when prompted and own up to situations. What was the situation or task? What action did you take? What was the response and how did you follow up? This is what we teach in Interview Prep – the STAR method is a beautiful thing.”

                                                                        – Tricia Haslinger, Operations Manager


Jenn, Senior Marketing Manager“Failing to ask questions at the end is less than ideal. If you truly want to earn the job, it’s important to be
invested in what life will be like should you get an offer. Don’t wait until you sign the offer letter to gather more information about the company’s culture. If working with a family-oriented company is important to you, ask them about their values during the interview. If you know you need a mentor, talk to them about options during initial conversations. Surprises later on aren’t good for you or for the company.”

– Jennifer Cline, Senior Marketing Manager


When it comes to interviewing, paying attention to the small details can really go a long way and could determine whether or not you land the job. By following these tips and making sure you’re prepared for any question that may come your way, you’ll be able to walk in on interview day with confidence.

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