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An Former Apple Recruiter Says These Are the 2 Worst Mistakes to Make in a Job Interview


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, chief people officer at recruiting software company Jobvite, estimates 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 says can instantly dash your hopes of landing a job:

Read more: An ex-Apple recruiter says there’s an unexpected dark side to hiring for ‘culture fit’

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.

Read more: Here’s the avoidable mistake that can cost you a job

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.

Read more: A former HR exec who reviewed over 40,000 résumés says these 7 résumé mistakes annoy her

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.”