4 Ways Being Passive Kills Your Job Prospects


Nothing can sink a job interview faster than a visibly nervous or passive interviewee. The interview allows the applicant a chance to prove that they have the knowledge, the skill, and the experience laid out in their resume. A good interview can make a weak resume shine. A bad interview can make even the most experienced individual seem incompetent.

No matter how many years of professional work experience you have, don't let the job interview process become your Achilles' heel. Here are four ways being passive can kill your job prospects. (See also: How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions)


Job seekers are meant to paint a picture of professional competence, or at the very least, the potential for professional competence. Nothing can undermine that image faster than second guessing the answer you give.

"How fast can I write an article? I can write an article in two hours… well maybe three hours… I guess it really depends on the type of article...I mean…"

Give an answer and stick with it. Trust yourself. The interviewer doesn't need to know your entire thought process. They just want to know your norm. Rambling different answers to the same question could make the interviewer question the validity of your entire resume. If you can't answer a simple question, maybe the entire resume is a lie.

Thinking You Can't Do It

Before stepping foot into an interview, take a moment to reflect on how you view yourself. Personally, I tend to undervalue my own work. When asked during an interview if I can work under pressure, my gut instinct is to say no.

The answer has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with self-doubt. I always underestimate my ability to work in new environments and on new types of projects. I need to remind myself in interviews that how I view myself has nothing to do with the reality of the situation. I can, and have, worked well under pressure before.

Job seekers need to know whether they're in danger of letting their self-doubt destroy their ability to land a job they would flourish in. Be self-aware enough to realize when you need to go against what you're brain and gut are screaming at you.

Having Nothing to Ask

Interviews are meant to be a conversation where both the job seeker and the company determine whether they are a good fit. Many job seekers, who are desperate to find a job, might not realize that they're still expected to act as if they're personally evaluating whether the job is a good fit.

Why? Even if saying no to the job isn't an option, trying to feel out the company can make you seem more invested in finding an organization where you contribute to that company's financial growth. And acting as if you're evaluating how you would fit in at the company can make you seem self-aware.

In order to cultivate an image of evaluating the worth of the job, you should:

  • research the company before the interview;
  • check out their website;
  • read their blog;
  • read articles where the company is mentioned;
  • check out any of the company's webinars;
  • research their competitors;
  • come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer.

Being Too Laid Back

Interviews are the time and place to carefully cultivate the right mannerisms. The interviewer needs to know that, even if the culture of the office is more relaxed, you can recognize when formality is needed and act accordingly. As an added bonus, the right body language and mannerisms can also make you appear more professional and confident.

Due to a lack of emphasis on professional behavior these days, it can be hard to pinpoint what personal habits might be ruining the professional image you're attempting to create. Here are a few habits to add to your professional interview persona:

  • wait for permission before taking a seat;
  • give a firm handshake;
  • don't fidget;
  • maintain eye contact;
  • have good posture (no slouching).

What bad interview habits do you have that are hampering your ability to find a job? Share with us!

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