Interview mistakes to avoid

by | 25.11.21

Your CV has done it’s job and got you an interview now the scary part is going to happen – you are going to have to either attend an interview or complete an online interview. It doesn’t matter which method the employer chooses to use its still frightening and frankly you don’t have the time to learn from your mistakes. So let us guide you, let us use the experience and knowledge we have gained over the years. Here you go:

Never go unprepared

There is nothing more off putting for an employer than to interview a candidate who is not prepared and is unable to answer basic questions. Even worse is a candidate who attends an interview not knowing anything about the Company and not having studied the job description. This is highly unprofessional. Trust us, you can’t go in there and wing it.

Never be late

There is a joke in our business and it goes like this “What do you call a person who turns up late for a job interview? Unemployed.” Being on time for an interview is crucial. Showing up late is very irresponsible. In the eyes of the employer they think if you are late for an interview you will also be late for work everyday. It’s not a good impression to give.

Never be too early

Most people know you should never be late for an interview. But here is the twist – you shouldn’t be too early either. This might make you look either desperate to get the job or so arrogant you think you can attend when you want. The employer has a time set aside for you, you can’t just pop in whenever you want.

Never appear scruffy

A big mistake when attending an interview is looking messy or dressing inappropriately. This is an interview and you should dress appropriately. No jeans, tracky’s or trainers. Smart office attire is essential. You need to take yourself seriously so that the employer takes you seriously.

Never appear unenthusiastic

Low enthusiasm in an interview is a career killer. If you are not passionate or excited about the job you are not going to get it. Your tone, posture and body language will tell the employer whether you are interested in the job or not. A disinterested tone, lack of attention, no eye contact or a crumbled posture is not attractive. The employer will spot this immediately and will mentally cross you out.

Never appear over the top enthusiastic

Playing “too cool” for a job never works. But being TOO enthusiastic won’t help either. If you show too much excitement, you could come across as either bonkers or childish and it may distract the person interviewing you. The employer may think you are unprofessional and aren’t taking the interview very seriously.

Never get the lingo wrong

Language used in an interview is very important. It is very common for people not to adjust the way they speak but you must. If you are applying to a corporate employer don’t open the conversation with “How you doing mate?”. This will appear unprofessional. On the other hand if you are going for an interview with a local supermarket there is no need to say “yes sir” or “yes madam”. When in Rome do as the Romans do, in other words be socially aware and adjust to suit the situation you find yourself in.  




Never look like you are not paying attention

Has this ever happened to you? Someone is talking about something important and suddenly your mind wanders and you start thinking about what you are having for dinner. While this is okay when you are talking to a friend, day dreaming in an interview is a big mistake. You might miss a question you are asked or worse still the employer may notice you have zoned out and immediately vote you out.

Never think you don’t have to practice

In most interviews you will literally be asked the same questions. So there really is no excuse NOT to practice them and come up with some potential answers. With job interviews preparation is half the battle. If you’ve memorised all the questions they might ask, you’re bound to pass the interview with flying colours

Never think it’s all about you

Although what you are looking for in a job is important remember the interview isn’t all about you. The employer wants to know how you will add value to the company. You shouldn’t go into the interview and start talking about what you want, what kind of salary you’re aiming for and so on. Instead focus on what you can bring to the employer and then talk about what you want.

Never overshare

Because you are nervous you might get carried away and start babbling on and on about irrelevant personal details. It’s okay to bond with the person who is interviewing you but babbling on and on about yourself, what you like to do, your problems or the challenges you have in your life is a real turn off and you won’t get a job offer.

Never be too personal with the interviewer

Although in an interview you might bond with the person you see about things you have in common you must not be too personal with the interviewer. Some people ask really uncomfortable questions in an interview. Others might start flirting or behaving inappropriately. Remember that all interviews are supposed to be professional.

Never use your phone

This is pretty obvious yet some people fail to get it right. Entering an interview with a phone in your hand or using it during the interview is a huge no-no. it makes you appear unprofessional. Put your phone in your bag and on silent.

Never bad mouth a past employer

You might have had a horrible boss. Your previous work mates may have been horrible. They might also be the reason why you are leaving your job. However these are details you should never share with your interviewer. If you bad mouth your past employer, you will bad mouth your future employer too. So you will never get a job.

Never talk in cliches

Cliches are attractive in everyday conversation but in interviews saying “I an a natural leader” or “ I have great attention to detail” is boring. Although these sayings might be true, they are generic. These buzz words are overused to the point of not meaning anything. The employer will immediately disregard them.

Never talk too much

Nobody likes someone who talks too much. More often than not people who talk too much do this when they are unprepared or don’t know the answer to a question. Here are the facts. When an employer asks a question they are looking for a straight answer. If you talk in circles or waffle generally you are not a good listener and therefore not a good team player.

Never bring up salary and benefits

It would be a big mistake if you decided to bring up your salary during an interview. It’s bad manners. The interview is a chance for the employer to get to know you. They will want to establish what you are like and if you are what they are looking for. If you bring up money it will seem you are primarily motivated by money and don’t care about the job.

Never oversell yourself

You are supposed to impress in a job interview but here is the thing. Showing yourself in the best light is different from overselling yourself. Some people use an interview to brag about themselves. This can come across as you being cocky and no one  likes a cocky person

Never undersell yourself

Not taking ownership and praise for your achievements is also a big mistake. A job interview is an intellectual selling pitch based on your previous achievements. To win you need to master the art of confidence and adequate self praise. Own up to your accomplishments by using facts.

Never neglect the “biggest weakness” question

Many people think this is a trick question and don’t give a real answer. Obviously you have some weaknesses, you’re either not aware of them or you’re hiding them. Both of these cases are a red flag to an employer. Don’t be insecure, no one is perfect.

Never not have any questions

As the interview is coming to an end the employer always asks “do you have any questions for me”. The worst thing that you can possibly do is say “ummmm….not really”. Surely you must be curious about something… or else do you really care? This is the time to show your interest and enthusiasm and it is a great opportunity to find out more about how the job works.

Never forget to ask about the next step

Sometimes an employer will forget to inform you about the steps after the interview. It’s important to know what the follow up process is and when you should expect to hear from them. Asking about the next step confirms to the employer that you are confident you passed the interview process and seriously want their job.

Never follow up an interview aggressively

Sometimes employers take their time to decide. On average it can take at least a week to hear back after an interview. You might get impatient and decide it’s a good idea to follow up. There is no problem with that but do not do it aggressively, don’t demand an answer and definitely do not go into stalker territory otherwise any positive impression you have made in the interview will go down the drain.

So to conclude the interview process is extremely difficult and nerve wracking. There are so many things that can go wrong, but now you know all about them. Good luck with your job search.


Angela Burton