Diann Albers, owner of UpNorth Consulting has seen the best and the worst of jobs candidates because, she has "interviewed enough people to fill the Metrodome." She and several additional employers who can make the same claim were willing to share ways that job seekers have prevented themselves from getting the job so that you don't make the same mistakes.

Diann Albers, Owner, UpNorth Consulting

Cell phones. "During an interview, a guy took a call from his wife and wrote down a list of groceries. I've had people send text messages during the interview. Unless you have a life or death crisis, turn off the cell phone."

Bad language. "If you've just met me and you're comfortable using four-letter words, what are you going to be like after a week at my client site?"

Too much information. "An interview is not the time to become my dearest friend. Don't tell me about your medical conditions, nervous breakdown or how stressed out you were in your last position."

Résumés gone berserk. "Most companies convert the résumé to plain text to populate a database. When you add company icons, squares and boxes, we have to do manual editing."

Phil Deering, Vice President of Consulting Services, Dashe & Thomson, Inc.

Making comments about women's looks and thinking it's male bonding. "This is not a bar, it's a job interview."

Ignoring the interviewer's questions. "People try to get by with whatever they want to tell me rather than answering my questions. I prefer a thoughtful `I don't know.' On the job, figuring out answers over time is often required rather than being immediately correct."

Barbara Camm, Vice President of Marketing Development, Dashe & Thomson, Inc.

Wearing your "fun outfit." "People are more casual today, but professional makes a better impression."

Answering, "Gee, I hadn't thought about that," when asked a basic interview question. "Go to a website related to job interview questions and prepare some answers."

Barbara Parks, Career Coach, Green Career Tracks

"The worst thing you can say during the interview is, `So, tell me a little bit about your company."


Laura French is principal of Words Into Action, Inc., and is a freelance writer from Roseville.