The biggest mistakes Gen Z makes in job interviews, according to a recruiter

Emily Levine has been interviewing job candidates for years. Levine joined staffing firm Career Group Companies in 2010 and is now the company’s executive vice president. She has recruited for real estate, consulting, finance and even some A-list celebrities looking for personal assistants.

Over her decade-plus in the industry, she’s seen some odd behavior in job interviews. And some of the strangest instances occurred last year, when she was interviewing younger candidates, Levine says. Many “Gen Z candidates don’t know, I would say, interview etiquette.”

Some recent examples of what not to do and what Levine recommends instead.

One took the interview from bed.

One of Levine’s colleagues was recently interviewing someone for a personal assistant position. Through the wall, he could hear his colleague ask, “Hi, do you usually do interviews from bed?”

When she rushed to answer the call, she learned that the candidate had explained that she was having a hard time finding a job. When Levine’s colleague told her that it was not good to do interviews from bed, the candidate replied: “When I’m not so lazy, I go to the couch.”

Not only was this candidate unprofessional at her chosen interview location, she also admitted to being lazy.

“He’s a candidate I have very little hope for,” Levine says.

If you’re doing an interview from home, do it at a desk, kitchen table “or any area that has a professional background” and a clean room, she says. If that’s not available to you, try blurring the background or putting up a stock background.

And don’t forget to show enthusiasm. “It’s important to make good eye contact and nod at appropriate times when you agree with what the interviewer is saying,” says Levine. “Be sure to smile, too.”

The candidates have arrived “completely naked in the butt”

Candidates have also arrived in various states of undress.

One candidate Levine was interviewing for a variety of potential positions showed up to the Zoom call in a bathrobe. Levine was not impressed.

“I think that’s bad judgment,” she says. “And I think it says a lot about the decisions they make.” If this candidate isn’t thinking about putting their best foot forward for a potential job, what else would they think is appropriate when they’re actually doing the job?

Needless to say, “he did not achieve his goal.”

Others have shown up with less clothing, Levine says, and she recounts more than one young candidate wearing a work-appropriate T-shirt but being “completely naked underneath.” Her clothing choice was discovered when they accidentally moved the camera on her phone.

Recently, Levine interviewed a young woman for an entry-level position in HR who had chosen the same outfit. However, this time the woman didn’t seem to notice that there was a full-length mirror behind her. In other words, the candidate was showing her backside to Levine throughout the entire conversation.

Levine didn’t last long in the interview, about five minutes in total, she says. “It was hard not to laugh, but I also felt very uncomfortable.” Once again, this showed that she had poor judgment. “And it’s very embarrassing.”

What you wear to an interview can depend on the industry you’re interviewing for. “I would recommend a suit and tie for an investment banking interview,” says Levine, “but a more professional, dressy outfit for a fashion interview or something more creative.”

Generally speaking, “J.Crew, Theory, Ann Taylor, Suitsupply, Zara, etc. are usually a good idea to get inspired by,” she says.

But at the very least, when it comes to preparing for a job interview, “just get dressed,” Levine says.

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What not to say when an interviewer asks you: