The 2 worst mistakes you could make in a job interview, according to an ex-Apple recruiter


Rachel Bitte

  • Rachel Bitte, the former chief people officer at recruiting software company Jobvite and a former recruiter for Apple and Intuit, shared her biggest tips to for interviewees. 
  • The two biggest mistakes job applicants make are not asking questions, and behaving badly during interviews.
  • Bitte says she watches for how an interviewees speaks to not just the hiring manager, but also waitstaff and receptionists. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Everyone has moments they wish they could take back.

In your professional life, it’s important to ensure those moments don’t occur during job interviews.

Rachel Bitte, formerly the chief people officer at recruiting software company Jobvite, estimated that she’s interviewed around 6,000 people over the course of her career as a recruiter and HR exec at Apple and Intuit.

It’s fair to say she’s witnessed the full gamut of behavior from interviewees.

Here are two major mistakes she said can instantly dash your hopes of landing a job:

1. Behaving like a jerk

You can come across as rude during a job interview without even directly saying anything offensive to the hiring manager.

Bitte described an incident from her tenure as an HR professional at Intuit. After a stellar phone interview with one candidate, she arranged to meet the person for a second round interview over breakfast.

But the candidate’s behavior at the restaurant was an immediate red flag.

“How she treated the wait staff told me something about her as a person,” Bitte says. “I just was like, ‘Wow.'”

So don’t be snippy with baristas and waiters.

Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz reported that many organizations have adopted this “waiter rule.” And it doesn’t just apply to wait staff — Tupperware CEO Rick Goings always checks in with his receptionist after interviewing job candidates, to ensure that the applicants were polite.

Bitte says that seeing an applicant interact with people in a real world environment helps recruiters vet for negative traits like rudeness.

2. Forgetting to ask questions

“The worst thing you can do in an interview is say, ‘I have no questions,'” Bitte says. “That’s just the worst thing in the world. That’s like the kiss of death, almost. You don’t care.”

Bitte says that it’s crucial to do research and compile some thoughtful questions in order to demonstrate that you care about the role.

The key is remembering that asking questions doesn’t make you sound stupid — unless they’re horrible questions. Insightful questions make you sound engaged and enthusiastic.

“Show me that you have some enthusiasm or some passion,” Bitte says. “Have a real curiosity about what a job at the company is really like.”

SEE ALSO: The 6 highest-valued HR startups that are using AI to help companies like Deloitte and Disney make hiring more efficient and fair, including by reducing unconscious bias

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