What not to do in an interview.

A group of hiring managers recently shared their biggest job-interview-candidate peeves. These are their replies, listed in order of frequency mentioned:

“I’m always disappointed when candidates have no questions to ask me during interviews.” This frustration was mentioned several times, and conveys to interviewers that the candidate didn’t prepare for interview basics, and also that she doesn’t care much about the opportunity. Bringing along a list of questions and a notepad to record information is a quick fix for this faux pas.

“Not listening to questions, and responding with rambling answers.” Interviews make people nervous, resulting in the common pitfall of candidates not paying careful attention to what they’re being asked. This then leads to candidates babbling on about anything that crosses their minds, and a train-wreck of information ensues. Instead, aim to repeat the question back to the interviewer, as in, “So you want to know about my experience working with international vendors.” This focuses the candidate to listen closely, and conveys to the interviewer that she’s paying attention.

“They’ve done no research about the company.” Now more than ever, with access to information so readily at our fingertips, it’s expected that candidates will have an understanding of the hiring company and its priorities. A quick Google search can bring up the company website, recent news posts, and profiles of key staff. Additionally, a few minutes spent on LinkedIn can inform prospective employees about the interviewing team.

“Their answers sound like everyone else’s.” A flipside to having quick access to information via the Internet is that many interviewees will search for, and then use, great-sounding responses to interview questions—but then they end up sounding just like other candidates. A workaround to this issue is to brainstorm a list of your best, relevant achievements, and to interject details about those into your replies, as those are unique to you and your experiences.

And finally, “Wearing heavy cologne or perfume.” Fragrance is a personal choice, and what you believe smells nice runs the risk of offending other noses. Some people are even allergic, so it’s best to just skip it.