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success at work

Most career advice is of the “do this,” “do that” variety. That’s all well and good, but sometimes, it’s helpful to now what not to do. In a great Business News Daily Post titled “8 Things You Should Never Do on a Job Interview,” assistant editor Nicole Fallon outlines some cardinal sins jobseekers sometimes commit. Whatever you do at your next interview, be sure to avoid…

1. Over-Applying — Don’t show up for the interview having applied to every open position on the company’s website. You may fancy yourself a jack of all trades, but you’ll only seem desperate. Limit yourself to the one or two gigs you’re bust suited to and focus on those.

2. Fudging the Facts — “Nothing frustrates a hiring manager more,” says Jack Hill, director of talent acquisition solutions at the human capital management software firm PeopleFluent, than stretching the truth in your interview. Don’t exaggerate about your past responsibilities and/or titles, and certainly don’t fudge the dates you worked someplace. The decision makers will find out, and they won’t be pleased.

3. Showing Up Late — You want to show recruiters you’re reliable and able to manage your time, and if you’re tardy to your meeting, you’ll suggest exactly the opposite. Figure out how long it’ll take you to travel to the office and find parking, and then add an extra hour for traffic and other unforeseen hiccups.

4. Not Studying Up — Nowadays, there’s a wealth of information available on just about any company you can think of. Show up well prepared and ask thoughtful questions. Otherwise, you’ll appear lazy.

5. Bragging — You may have killed it at your last job and met all kinds of important people, but avoid using “I” over and over again (“the team” will make you sound more humble), and don’t name-drop left and right.

6. Failing to Follow Up — Certain things never go out of style, and the personalized thank-you note is one. When you send yours, make sure it’s timely, and that it includes details from the interview, so they know you were paying attention.

7. Negotiating Endlessly — If you’re offered a position, you’re free to negotiate for better money, perks, and the like, and as Fallon says, it’s even expected. What’s not OK, however, is turning the back-and-forth into a torturous process that drags on for weeks. To avoid this, be clear about what you want straight off the bat.

8. Reneging on an Accepted Offer — This, Fallon says, is “worst crime a candidate can commit.” Once you’ve accepted a position, the company has likely stopped interviewing candidates, so if you back out after agreeing to join the team, they’ll have to start from scratch. Bottom line: Make sure the job satisfies all of your criteria before saying yes.