Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you have a job interview coming up soon in English? If you want to be successful and get the job, you need to know what you should avoid doing.

Lindsay and Aubrey talk about what NOT to do in an American Job Interview.

This episode is inspired by an article by Gary Burnison of CNBC on July 27, 2021.

Lindsay and Aubrey will share their own experience and opinions to put Gary’s points into context. In the episode we’ll let you know if we agree or disagree with what he said and will add more examples and ideas.

Listen to this episode to learn what you should do and what you should avoid if you want to get the job in American culture.

Do You Like Going to Job Interviews?

Aubrey hates going to job interviews.

It is very nerve-wracking.

Especially if you really want the job.

You have to take so many assessments and do multiple interviews.

There was a time that Aubrey had to fly from Arizona to New York three times for a job interview.

Lindsay had the same experience when she applied for a job in Japan.

With all that effort, they both became very invested in the job application.

It is a fine line to walk.

You should be careful not to look desperate in the job. This is something we’ll talk about later in the post.

You must show interest but not go overboard.

Companies want to hire someone that is cool and collected during the interview.

What are the things that you should NOT do in a job interview?

#1: We Must Avoid Talking Too Much or Too Little

Aubrey can remember where she talked too much in response to a question during a job interview once.

It can be common to overshare because you want to impress the interviewer with all your experiences and qualifications.

It is also possible that if you are a bit intimidated or nervous, you might not talk much.

To avoid these problems, Aubrey and Lindsay share their own tips below:

  • Be conscious of how long it is taking you to answer the question. As Lindsay has learned, the more you talk, the less each word is valued. You must choose your words and practice before the interview. This will ensure that you get your message across as quickly and precisely as possible.
  • Don’t be too conscious about what to say or the timeframe you need to say it in or else you may end up talking too little. There was a time where Aubrey did a mock job interview with a student, and she downplayed her skills. Aubrey directed her that this is the time to promote yourself and not be shy of what you can do. During a job interview you should show them that you are fully qualified for the job but have the balance and be careful not to sound like you’re bragging or don’t take too long to get to your point. As mentioned earlier, it helps to figure out the vocabulary and the phrasing and practice ahead of time.
  • In American culture, it is important to share what your contributions from your previous job that highlight your leadership skills. There is an unwritten rule where interviewers want a candidate that can step up and out of their comfort zone. This is a good sign of a leader in the future. Someone to be willing to do anything and be very flexible and agile is valued in American business culture.

#2: Do Not Appear Desperate in a Job Interview

In the article, Gary Burnison also suggested that if you show that you are eager to get the job, you will raise doubts about your skills and credibility.

If you come across as desperate, you will not be hired.

Also, be careful about your body language.

You must show that you are composed and calm.

If you sit at the edge of your seat, you look desperate.

It is best to sit properly, relax your shoulders and maintain eye contact when speaking to the interviewer.

You may lean forward to the edge of your seat when you speak and answer questions but remember to lean back when you are done answering.

Lindsay shares an experience where body language is vital in nailing a job interview.

When applying for a job in Japan, she learned that it is disrespectful to cross your legs frequently during an interview.

#3: Do Not Bring Something to Drink or Eat

The author shares that you shouldn’t bring in your drink or food when in a job interview.

This is a faux pas.

This makes the setting very casual and makes you look unprofessional.

Aubrey shared that her daughter, as part of the younger generation, may not be aware of this.

Some would pass by a Starbucks before the actual interview and would forget to toss out their drink or snack when entering the room.

But it is another scenario if you are offered refreshments while you wait or before you start the interview.

Lindsay says this may be very distracting.

It may be very difficult to take a sip of your drink or a bite of your bread or doughnut while answering questions of the interviewer.

You can show politeness by accepting the offer and setting it aside once the interview has begun.


This is a great episode to help you land your dream job interview while learning how to improve your business English.

The key takeaway here is to not stress out so much in job interviews.

You need to prepare and be aware of what you do and how you present yourself.

These tips can help you be more confident and leave a good impression on the interviewer.

Has this been helpful?

Share in the comments below how you can apply this on your next job interview.

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