Each time you have a job interview with a company or a future boss, there are some questions, comments and actions that will not help you get closer to getting a job offer. What are they?

Blaming your Old Boss

That’s right, what’s to stop your prospective new boss from thinking that you might blame them if it doesn’t work out? It is much better to find a way to explain it without being defensive. If you were fired, refer to this post for ways to explain your situation: Interviewing or Job Applications: What do I Say if I was Fired?

Dropping Names to Impress

This tactic often backfires. If you were brought in for a job interview because someone at the top of the company wanted you to be considered for a position, believe me, the interviewer knows it. You will make a better impression through your own personal merits than name-dropping your way throughout the interview.

Asking Misinformed Questions

If you ask questions based on hearsay rather than facts and data, the bottom line is you will appear inexperienced and unreliable. It is critical to do your research on the company and to pose questions demonstrating your knowledge about the successes and challenges they face in the marketplace, with their customers or suppliers.

Saying Too Much

The interviewer is not interested in hearing about your life story or to know about every little detail behind the open ended question. When s/he asks a question, try to answer it in a couple of sentences. If s/he wants more information, they will ask a follow up question. One of the classic questions that some interviewers ask to see how well you can formulate a concise answer is, “tell me about yourself”.

Cracking Jokes

You are not at a comedy club audition. Sometimes people use humor when they are nervous or as a stress reliever. If humor is your crutch, find ways to de-stress before you enter the interview.

Being Too Serious

That’s right, the opposite extreme is also a job interview killer. If you are too uptight, your personality will not shine. Bottom line: people hire people they like. If the interviewer can’t figure out who you are, s/he is less likely to give you the green light.

Trying Hard to be Liked

Giving your interviewer compliments about their dress, hair or other personal attributes is well…just too personal. The interviewer will see through your veiled attempt to have them like you.

Appearing Needy

This may be difficult, especially if you have been out of work for a long time. Employers want confident employees. If you are being too needy, the interviewer will cut the interview short. Remember, job candidates control more than they think in an interview.

Weak Handshake

Within the first few minutes, the interviewer makes a judgment based on your greeting – your handshake. A wimpy handshake will leave him or her wondering if you have what it takes to do a good job. Learn more about what your handshake might mean and how to have an ideal handshake at: Your Handshake Sends a Message.

Playing the “I have Another Offer” Card

There is a lot of danger in telling a prospective employer that you have another offer or that you are expecting one in the next day. Most employers are not ready to make a decision in your first interview. Don’t be surprised if you are not called in for a follow-up – to them you are off the market.

The next time you have a job interview that doesn’t go as well as you had hoped, consider if any of these interview pitfalls got in the way and try to modify your approach the next time.