Common interview mistakes and how to avoid them

After applying for a job you’ve successfully been offered a job interview and need some advice to help secure the role. As an expert recruitment agency with over 25 years of experience, we’ve been through and conducted our fair share of employment interviews. We know all the interview tips and tricks to help you stand out from the crowd. We’re often asked the key things to avoid saying in an interview and more generally, what not to do in a job interview. So, in this blog, we’ll cover the top interview mistakes and how to avoid making them.


1. Not doing the research

Easily one of the biggest mistakes you could make is to go to the interview without any background knowledge on the employer, business or role. When searching for a job, it’s likely you’ll apply for a few roles at first and may not know in great detail about each specific employer. However, when you begin attending interviews, it’s crucial you’re able to tailor your discussion to that exact business.

For example, some employers will lean heavily on good work atmosphere and team building exercises in their job description so make sure to use this in your interview. When asked why you applied for the job, you could say you were “attracted to the positive work culture and would enjoy developing relationships with colleagues through the team building exercises on offer.”

If you do the research, it shows the employer that you’re genuinely interested in the role and have put the time and effort in to getting it. The last thing an interviewer wants to see is someone that doesn’t seem passionate about the job position up for grabs.


2. Arriving late or dressed inappropriately

This one seems obvious, you should aim to arrive at the job interview around 10 minutes early and make sure to dress appropriately for the role you’re going for. 

If you arrive late to an interview it can suggest several negative things such as a lax attitude or inability to keep to deadlines, which could be crucial. Dressing too casual or too smart could give the impression that you didn’t prepare enough or that you don’t fully understand the business you’re trying to join.

On the flip side, making a good impression by arriving 10 minutes early to an interview shows the employer you’re less likely to arrive to work late or fall behind on deadlines. Dressing appropriately for the interview suggests you’ve done your research into the businesses work ethic and have successfully judged the atmosphere they’re aiming for.


3. Failing to answer questions

When you’re asked a question in your interview, you should be able to answer it in a timely matter without having to take significantly long pauses. Although it’s perfectly fine to take a moment occasionally to collect your thoughts, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by many questions; the ‘umms’ and ‘erms’ should be kept to a minimum. This is because it’s important to practice answering common interview questions before doing the real thing.

Failing to answer questions shows a general lack of preparation and disinterest in the job position. You need to show the employer that you’re genuinely interested in the job and answering questions well does this.

To do so, you can find many lists of common interview questions online and either practice them yourself or even better, have a family member or peer conduct a mock interview for you. This will help you develop your answers and practice actually saying them.


4. Saying too much

This one is often overlooked but can as critical as any other mistake. Although it’s important to answer the questions as mentioned in the above point, you must remember to do just that and not tell your whole life story. You need to work out the perfect balance which allows you to fully answer their questions without going too in depth or trailing off topic. Chances are, the interviewer will have several or dozens of interviews that day and would like your answer succinctly.

More importantly, succinct answers show you’ve prepared for the interview and already had an idea of what to say. This gives the impression you actually want the job and have put effort into getting it.

To stop yourself from going off trail and saying too much you should practice your answers and work on them, staying snappy and to the point. Look up the most common questions and develop your responses well before the interview.



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Posted: Sun 25 Aug 2019
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