5 ways you don't realize you're turning off your job interviewer

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If you've prepared for a job interview recently, you probably know the basics – bring extra copies of your resume, don't bad-mouth your previous employers, arrive on time and so forth. But as someone who's interviewed hundreds of job candidates, I can tell you that there's a lot more that goes into the kind of impression you make, and that an awful lot of candidates do things that really turn off interviewers, probably without having any idea it's happening.

SEE MORE: 8 Things That Are More Productive Than Staring at a Job Board

Here are five ways that you might be turning off your job interviewer without even realizing it.

Only looking at or addressing one of your interviewers. If you're interviewing with more than one person at a time, it's important to make sure that you're looking at and speak to all of them. Sometimes candidates will address their answers only to the person they believe is the most important one in the room, which comes across as remarkably rude! (Not to mention, sometimes they're wrong about who the decision-maker is.) Make sure to make eye contact with all your interviewers as you're speaking, so that you don't inadvertently appear dismissive.

Learn the body language mistakes that can make an interview go sour:
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10 worst body language mistakes during interviews
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10 worst body language mistakes during interviews

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 

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Being so formal that the interviewer can't get a real sense of you. Sometimes people get so nervous about job interviews or so hung up on what they perceive as the formality of the occasion that they go into what I think of as "interview persona": They become so formal and reserved that it's impossible to get a sense of what they would actually be like to work with day to day. On the interviewer's side of things, this can be a killer – because you can't responsibly hire someone without knowing what they're really like to work with. Obviously you don't want to treat an interview like a night out on the town with friends, but you should strive to be reasonably relaxed and conversational and let some personality show. A good way to think about it is the way you'd conduct yourself in a meeting with a colleague who you don't see every day but have a warm relationship with.

SEE ALSO: How to Follow Up On an Application Without Being Annoying

Offering up fake weaknesses. Interviewers are increasingly moving away from that old "tell me your strengths and weaknesses" standby, in part because so many candidates refuse to answer it honestly. But savvy interviewers will try to get at your weaknesses in other ways, such as by asking what kind of developmental feedback you've received or what areas you're working on improving in. An awful lot of candidates respond to these questions with answers that they think will make them look good – like, "I'm a perfectionist" or "I have trouble not taking work home with me." Leaving aside the fact that neither of these things is actually appealing to a good manager (perfectionism can waste resources and not disconnecting from work can lead to burnout), these sorts of answers have become so cliche that most interviewers see right through them. You'll come across as disingenuous and either lacking in self-reflection or unwilling to have an honest conversation about your strengths and weaknesses and how they might play out in the job.

Turning your time for questions into a sales pitch for yourself. When your interviewer asks what questions you have, this is your cue to ask genuine questions that you have about the work or the company, so that you are better equipped to figure out if the job is the right fit for you. Yet some candidates use this time to ask questions that are really just set-ups to try to sell themselves for the job. For example, they'll ask about whether the job includes much opportunity for, say, public speaking, and then follow that up with a lengthy discourse about their public speaking skills. Or when the interviewer mentions in response to a query about the workplace culture that the team is highly collaborative, the candidate will respond with a long explanation of their past successes in collaboration.

EXPLORE MORE: The 8 Stages of a Winning Job Search

When interviewers ask what questions you have, they want to use the time to answer things you're genuinely wondering about – not have you pass up that opportunity in order to do a hard sell of yourself.

Not paying attention to your interviewer's cues. Your interviewer will probably give off a fair number of cues if you pay attention, particularly around how they'd like to manage the conversation. Some of those cues might be explicit, like if your interviewer announces at the start of the meeting how long they've set aside for the conversation or says that they have a large number of questions to get through. But some are more subtle, such as an interviewer who seems interested and engaged in what you're saying (thus signaling that you're on the right track with your answers) versus one who looks bored or impatient (and thus probably wants you to start wrapping up an answer that might be rambling). By paying attention to your interviewer's cues, you'll be better able to align your own approach to the conversation with theirs, which will likely result in a stronger conversation and better overall impression.

Now check out 10 things you should say in an interview:

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10 things you should always say in a job interview
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10 things you should always say in a job interview
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
Photo credit: Microsoft word
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