The One Thing Employers Hate During Job Interviews, and How to Fix It

Two nervous, anxious men

Two nervous, anxious men — a fatal visual when heading into a job interview | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Heading into a job interview is nerve-wracking. You’re expected to impress — to keep cool under scrutiny, to hit all of the physical cues at the right times, and to carefully champion your achievements. It’s difficult. And because every employer and interviewer is different, there’s no sure-fire way to walk out with an offer. But there are many things you can do to improve your standing and show confidence.

We know the most critical juncture of an interview happens before the interview itself even starts — with researchers recently finding pre-interview chit-chat is absolutely integral to a successful conversation with an employer. If you consider that a part of the job interview and get in the right frame of mind before even walking in the door, you’ll be primed for success.

If there’s one thing that will torpedo the entire interview, it’s this: appearing as a nervous, anxiety-riddled wreck. If you’re worried about being worried and anxious, then you become worried and anxious. It’s vicious and, naturally, a key aspect employers are looking for when they first meet you.

But there might be some good news. A study published in the Journal of Business Psychology all but confirms that interviewers are turned off by anxious candidates, but also that they typically don’t pick up on the physical, outward signs of those feelings.

Let’s take a closer look at this fatal job interview mistake and what you can do to overcome it.

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