10 Habits That are Making You Look Unprofessional


Hiring managers don’t know you as a person. In an interview, they can only use your answers, your body language and non-verbal cues to evaluate you. Unfortunately, many common unconscious habits can make you look unprofessional, undercutting your chances of getting an offer.  These are some of the most common nervous habits that are making you look unprofessional in an interview.

One: Arriving Late

Timeliness is a matter of respect. When you are late, it says you don’t care about the job. When interviewing, always leave earlier than you think you must. You can always sit in your car and practice if you arrive more than 10 minutes early.

Two: Inappropriate Staring

Whether you are a man or a woman, staring is rude and makes people uncomfortable. Strive to make appropriate eye contact. You don’t want to be labeled a creep.

Three: Unrealistic Ideas

A positive attitude is important in the working world, but you don’t want to be so optimistic that you border on unrealistic. Know your value in the market so you can ask for a reasonable salary, be clear on how your experience makes you ready for the job, and don’t expect to be hired for a position above your skill set.

Four: Disorganization

Today, every working adult is pulled in different directions. That’s no excuse for showing up to interviews unprepared with copies of your resume, or struggling to locate something in your bag that you were asked to bring.  If you can’t keep yourself organized, how can you manage the responsibilities of the job?

Five: Phone-Watching

Checking your phone shows that you are not focused on what’s happening right in front of you and it can signal boredom. Turn your phone off before any interview, or better yet, leave it locked up in your car so you aren’t tempted to peek.

Six: Twirling Your Hair

This is a common nervous habit, especially among women, but it can often be interpreted as “flighty” behavior. Always be cognizant of what your hands are doing during an interview.

Seven: Repeating “Um,” “Uh,” and, “Like”

Using these filler words can make you appear unpolished, unprepared or insecure. It’s easy to fall into this trap when you are feeling stressed, so make sure to prepare ahead of any job interview so that you can speak with confidence.

Eight: Talking Too Fast

Many people speak quickly when they are nervous, but it can make you seem incompetent or even that you’re hiding something. Make every effort to speak at a controlled pace.

Nine: Typos

Typographical errors in a cover letter or resume won’t get you an interview. Always proofread twice and have someone else look them over before you click “send.”

Ten: Frowning

Frowning is a huge turn-off to strangers, but it’s natural to pinch your face a little when you are thinking or when you are nervous. Make every effort to smile. You’ll find that the even if you must force it, it will eventually come naturally.

Becoming a strong interviewee isn’t easy for everyone. In most cases takes time and practice.  A professional recruiter will work closely with you to ensure you can communicate effectively, and will offer constructive feedback on your interview skills. If you are ready to advance your career, reach out to the recruiting experts at CSS today.