Not getting calls back from your interviews? There may be something more subtle in your behavior that could be causing prospective managers to say, “No, thank you.”


We’ve all heard about (and I’ve written about) things that you should avoid doing in interviews. But there are some things that you should avoid that you may not even know you’re doing. Here are some of them.

Dwelling on your certifications

It’s admirable that your e-mail signature is followed by 37 initials indicating the certs you’ve racked up, but try not to let a listing of your certs be the centerpiece of your qualifications. While you think this might be telling the interviewer how knowledgeable you are, it really may be telling her that you’ve spent more time studying and taking tests than you have in dealing with the technology in the real world. When you overemphasize your certs, an interviewer may think you don’t know how to use the technology in a practical sense.

Drawing attention to yourself as a member of a minority

While there are definitely some creeps out there who will make a snap judgment about you based on your gender, your age, or your skin color, there are lots who won’t. But if you make a point of saying something about it yourself, even the good prospective managers are going to think you’ll be extra-sensitive to that issue as an employee.

For example, if you mention in an interview that you’ve had to face many obstacles as a woman in the tech field, your interviewer might take that to mean you’ll be “looking for issues” in his shop. Whether that impression is right or wrong, fair or unfair, it could send up a red flag.

Talking too much/being smug

Self-confidence is a good thing, but smugness is not. Smugness implies that you know everything there is to know and won’t be very open to feedback. The interviewer is thinking, “You might know a lot about technology, but you don’t know how things work in my organization.” This impression is reinforced if you monopolize the interview to share your opinions. If you don’t listen to the interviewer during an interview, what would you be like on the job? The interviewer wants someone with good ideas and knowledge of the area, but believe me, the last thing he wants is someone he constantly has to “convince” to do something because that person has his own way of doing it.

Get career tips in your inbox

TechRepublic’s IT Career newsletter, delivered each Tuesday and Thursday, offers tips on how to get a job and how to survive the workplace once you get there. Automatically sign up today!