How to mess up an interview

by | 20.05.21

Your CV has done its job and you have got yourself an interview. Its the first step towards finding your next job but how you present yourself during the interview is what matters now. Unfortunately even the cleverest person  in the world can make a bad impression during an interview and not even know it. Here is some advise on what not to do, we see people making these mistakes everyday and believe me they do not get job offers.

Don’t talk about money

A sensible candidate knows their market value and does not bring up the salary question during a first or even a second interview. These candidates go the top of the employers list, they are considered the cream of the crop because they are not focused on what the employer is going to give to them. Rather , they focus on how they can contribute to the employer and really add value. Employers want to hear about  what you are bringing to the table and how you will not only contribute to the team but also complement it. With this knowledge the employer will decide your worth and make you a job offer, hopefully this offer will be what is considered your market worth.

You did not do your research

One of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make when they have an interview is to neglect to research the employer who they are meeting with. It is absolutely critical that you check out the employers website and read any articles you can find on the employer online. Not only will this help you hone in on the questions you should ask in the interview it will also allow you to enter the interview process with some knowledge. It is a major red flag to any employer if you show you have no real knowledge about what they do. Even if you were approached by the employer about the job you should do a basic review of their product before you attend an interview. Asking an employer “What do you do?” conveys laziness and general disinterest and is very hard to recover from.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your appearance

Don’t forget the little things. Its important to dress well for an interview and have a positive attitude. What many candidates forget are the small details like hair, makeup , shoes and so forth. We have had people turned down for jobs because of their fingernails. One candidates nails were excessively long and dirty. The employer couldn’t over look this as the candidate would be on the front line helping clients who would find this unacceptable. So watch the little things, its not just about your outfit, you are going to be studied very carefully.

Don’t ignore other staff members

First impressions are not limited to just the person who interviews you. Its critical for you to bear in mind the interview starts the moment you connect online or walk through the door. With this in mind be sure to treat everyone who you meet or interact with along the way with courtesy and respect. Most people who interview you will ask everyone who interacted with you for their impression following the interview. A good rule of thumb is to treat everyone like they are a Director after all you do not know who you are talking to.

Don’t wait to ask important questions

Traditionally you wait until the end of the interview before you can ask questions, or you wait until you are asked but that does not mean you have to. Nowadays it is normal in an interview situation to ask important questions during the interview. By important questions I mean questions such as how your position would fit in the team not things like hours of work etc. By asking key questions it shows you are listening and trying to get an understanding for the job and showing a real interest. Be careful though about interrupting the interviewer constantly as this can be very irritating.

Don’t over-exaggerate your passion and interests

What I mean by is this do not try to make yourself seem more exciting than you are, do not over sell yourself or tell white lies about parts of your life. For example you may say you are a keen cyclist , love chess and am an expert cook. That is okay as long as the person interviewing has not competed in the Tour de France or is a grandmaster at chess or maybe has appeared on Master Chef. What then? Honesty its just as important in questions about hobbies as it is about your work experience. Getting caught in a lie devalues the interview and a persons credibility. I remember once telling someone in an interview that my hobby was synchronised swimming, when I was questioned about the type of routines I did my story completely feel apart and I had to put my hands up and say I didn’t partake in synchronised swimming at all I had only put it on my CV to appear interesting and that my real hobbies were cooking cleaning and running the family home , in other words I lead a boring life. I was fortunate I got away with it but some employers may think that if you are willing to lie about your hobbies , what else may you be willing to lie about.

Don’t forget to research whose interviewing you

Prior to your interview check out the person who is going to interview you on LinkedIn and see if you have any common connections . Not only can this help you during your interview, but it’s likely that your interviewer has done the same with your LinkedIn account and online presence. Always make sure your social media accounts are scrubbed of anything that you do not want a potential employer to know about you. Nowadays social media plays a big part in most peoples lives but it does give outsiders the chance to check you out and if you want to succeed in the workplace you need a professional online presence so get rid of the drunken bad behaviour postings if you want to get on.

 Don’t be late – you wont get the job

One of the most basic but also one of the most important tips I can give you is always leave plenty of time to get to the interview Being late is a real no-go and will definitely be a huge black mark against you from which it will be very hard to recover. So check out your journey and allow a little extra time for traffic or trains that have been cancelled. Its important that you arrive at an interview in a calm state and present yourself in an organised fashion. Simply being on time for an inter view greatly aids your chance of getting the job so be organised.

You’re not nice

Being nice and friendly matters when you are looking for a job. That means being nice to everyone you meet when attending an interview. Don’t ever think you are doing an employer a favour by considering their job – your not – there are plenty of people around whose experience and skills are as good as yours. Most companies have a culture which revolves around workplace positivity so its very important that they believe you are a  nice, friendly , positive individual who will complement their existing team. No-one likes an arrogant person and no-one wants to work alongside them so be nice!

You haven’t sold yourself

Do not confuse being nice with being humble. In an interview one of the most important things you need to do is sell yourself. Do not lie, do not exaggerate but do promote. the only one who can tell an employer you have the skills and experience needed for their job. You are also the only one who can convince an employer that you will fit in and be a real asset for their company.

Don’t check your watch or phone

During a job interview you are on the employers clock, not your own. You must give yourself plenty of time for an interview. If you haven’t more fool you. However if you are in an interview and feel it is running over try not to stress . You can deal with the problem after the interview. For now keep your focus on getting the job. On a similar note be sure that your phone is turned off and out of sight. An employer does not want to hear you receive a message or a text during an interview. Even worse, answering the call in the middle of an interview, this is unforgivable.

Saying what you really think

There are times when you should not say what you really think. If you hated your last boss or the company you worked for an interview is not the time to express this. As soon as you badmouth where you worked before the employers will wonder whether you will say the same about them next time round. Do everyone a favour, especially you, keep those negative thoughts to yourself. Keeping things positive will definitely work better than trashing your previous employers.

You didn’t close the deal

Its important to leave the interviewer with the impression that you want the job. You will probably be asked if there is anything else you would like to say. Use this time as an opportunity to relay your appreciation for being considered for the job and reiterate what makes you the best-qualified candidate. Make sure you tell the employer you want their Job and say it again in writing when you get home. Take time out to send a thank-you note or email message asap the employer is going to make a decision soon so make sure they know you really , really want their job.

So there you go, have you committed any of these sins? Chances are you may have so read and learn. Good luck with your job search.

Angela Burton