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Written By: Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer

Bad habits can be sneaky. They often begin innocuously, and over time, can become a part of your personality. While some bad habits—like cracking gum or chewing your fingernails—might not affect your everyday life too negatively, you may have formed some bad habits that are hindering your job hunt.

Stay on top of your job search game by avoiding these bad habits:


It’s unlikely that you’ll hear an interviewer exclaim, “I’m so glad you were 20 minutes late for our interview!” Instead, you might have to reschedule, or worse, miss out on your interview opportunity altogether. So when it comes to time management skills, make sure yours are super sharp. Even if it means leaving your house a good half hour or more earlier than you need to, being on time is important for any job interview.


Whether you think that your accomplishments speak for themselves (or you’re a bit burned out from job searching for so long), submitting a ho-hum job application isn’t going to go over big in a potential boss’ eyes. After all, your interviewer wants to feel your enthusiasm for the job and the company coming across in your job application.

Writing a generic “To whom it may concern” on your cover letter, not explaining how your work experience makes you a solid match for the job, or not expressing your interest in working for (and growing with) the company can all count against you.


Don’t forget deadlines. Don’t forget names of key people during job interviews. Don’t forget to ask questions. Don’t forget all the reasons you were excited to start a new job search in the first place! There are lots of things to remember and keep track of during your job search, so if you’re known to be forgetful, come up with a system for preventing that. For instance, you may want to write everything down, or set calendar reminders. Figure out what works best for you.

Bad-Mouthing Your Boss

Even if you’ve had a previous boss-from-hell, it’s best to be tight-lipped when it comes to possibly saying something negative about him. If you’re applying for a position within the same industry as your previous job, there’s a fairly decent chance that your prospective boss may know him—and your ruthless remarks could cut your job interview short.

If you’re asked about why you left your former role (and it was mostly because of your boss), cite another reason, such as you outgrew your role, or you worked at the company for a long time and you want to try something new.

Being Aggressive or Apathetic

You want to make a positive impression upon your interviewer, which means being polite, professional, and friendly. But chalk it up to a multitude of factors, such as nerves or being out of practice when it comes to interviewing, and your attitude could come off as something unintended.

If you’re hungry for the job, try to tone down your eagerness, which could possibly translate into an aggressive or brash personality. And at the other extreme, make sure to let your personality shine through in the job interview to avoid appearing apathetic or uninterested in the role. Be authentic during your job interview in order to make the best impression possible.

Avoid these bad habits when you are job searching so that you can become one step closer to landing the job of your dreams. For tips on surviving the job hunting process, visit our talent blog or contact us today!

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