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This Common Interview Mistake Could Cost You the Job, Says Top Recruiter

a white blond woman with her hair pulled back and glasses on, looking unhappy at work with her laptop open in front of her

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. Just the idea of having to hype yourself up to a complete stranger is often enough to cause a person’s stomach to flutter. It doesn’t help that there’s a plethora of advice out there on how best to behave (think: be yourself, but not too much yourself that all your quirky habits come out).

But according to a top Amazon recruiter, there’s one interview mistake that’s surprisingly common and particularly egregious: swearing. (Yes, you read that right.)

See also: 10 signs you actually have a good manager.

Now, before you breath a sigh of relief and tell yourself that’s something you would never ever do in a million years, DJ Cabeen told CNBC’s Make It that is happens more often than you’d think. “My biggest pet peeve is when candidates use curse words or inappropriate language during an interview,” he says. “It’s a major turnoff, it does not go over well or feel professional at all.”

Spoiler alert: it’s also not a mistake specific to younger or less experienced candidates either. So if you think you have age on your side, think again. “I’ve been recruiting for more than 10 years at this point and I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve had with candidates where they use curse words,” he adds. “It’s not just entry-level candidates, it’s also older, very experienced candidates I’ve spoken to. It runs the whole gamut of tenure.”

See also: 10 things you should negotiate before you start a job.

This gaffe, while never a good thing in a professional environment, can likely be chalked up to nerves. More often than not, the very idea of an impending job interview can keep us up at night, fretting over everything from what we’ll wear to whether or not we did enough research on the company in advance. As a result, those casual F-bombs might occasionally slip out in an effort to appear calm and at ease — as though we’re chatting with an old friend.

Another common mistake Cabeen has encountered over the years is candidates showing up without basic information about the company or a proper understanding of what the job entails. “Doing your homework and preparing well for these interviews is something I also unfortunately don’t see a lot of people do,” he says. “But researching the company, the team and the interviewer is a really important step and an easy way to stand out in the application process.”


So, the next time you find yourself with an interview lined up, take a deep breath, do your research in advance and scream a slew of swear words into your pillow to get it out of your system before heading out the front door.

You may also like: Why getting a mentor will make your career this year.

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