Sometimes it's what you don't do that will get you the job.

The key to nailing a job interview isn't necessarily being the perfect fit. Believe it or not, sometimes employers want to start with a blank slate—someone with a good attitude and aptitude for training.

Here are some red flags to avoid at your next big interview.

1. Don't be late.

The first impression you make is crucial. If you're doing a virtual interview, log in a few minutes beforehand, especially if the waiting room function is activated. Heading there in person? Give yourself plenty of time and be at least 10 minutes early to compose yourself.


Photo by Marius Mann

2. Don't be unprepared.

At the bare minimum, you should be armed with at least two copies of your resume in a plain folder. Add a notepad and all of a sudden, you're ready for anything. Writing samples are always good to have on hand if they are relevant, or photos of your work if you're in a creative field.

3. Don't forget to dress to impress.

There is definitely some truth to that old adage, "dress for the job that you want." While not every interview requires a full business suit, try to visualize what the interviewer will be wearing and dress accordingly. When in doubt, go for something simple and classic. 


Courtesy of

4. Don't go in blind.

Research the company and have a few questions of your own. In a way, you're interviewing them as much as they are evaluating you. If it goes well, you may end up meeting multiple people in a group interview format. If you've done your homework and know who's who, it's easier to look like a superstar.

5. Don't skip the little things.

Along the lines of making a good first impression, being a thoughtful listener is a quality a potential boss will certainly notice. Even something as small as a firm handshake or a succinct question can make a difference.


Courtesy of Cytonn Photography

6. Don't forget your worth.

The inevitable salary question can be difficult, but if you'll be better off preparing for it beforehand. Start with the advertised salary in the job posting. If they give a range, it's safe to ask for something within the mid-range to the higher end if you have some experience. Another thing you can do is map your pay trajectory in your head and give yourself a realistic raise. Translate that into a pay range with your ideal number somewhere on the lower end.

7. Don't forget to follow up.

A simple email will reinforce your interest in the job. Be sure to take a business card if one is offered, and follow up with any requested information. 

email, laptop

Photo by Christin Hume

In the current economy, competition will be strong for the jobs that are out there. Remember these red flags the next time you set out for an interview!

Do you have any tips for acing a job interview that we may have missed? Share them with us in the comments.