What shouldn’t you do when interviewing? Here are the most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors a candidate for employment can make. Unfortunately, it’s easy to make these interview mistakes without even realising it – and many of them are more common than you might think. Take the time to prepare before your interview, so you don’t have to stress out about blunders after it.
Here are a list of the 10 most common interview mistakes
1. Dressing inappropriately
When you interview a job, it’s imperative to look professional and polished. Although your attire may vary based on the position you’re applying for – for example, you should wear business casual clothing to an interview for a non-professional to an interview at a small start-up company – it’s important you look well-dressed and put together, no matter what the company.
2. Arriving late
Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, but shows a lack of respect for the company, the position and even your interviewer. It’s one of the most common interview mistakes because areas outside of the candidates control can creep up – a cancelled train, a broken down bus etc. Budget your time so that you make it to the interview at least ten minutes early. That way, if something unforeseen comes up on your way over to your interview, you’ll have some cushion time.
3. Bringing a drink with you
Not only is it unprofessional to enter with a drink in hand, but during your interview, you should be focused on the task at hand: making a good impression, answering questions, maintaining eye contact with your potential employer, and paying attention throughout the entire interviewing process.
4. Using your phone during the interview
Before you get to your interview, silence your phone. Texting during your interview is not only rude and disruptive, but it’s a pretty clear message to your potential employer that getting the job is not your top priority. For the same reasons, don’t answer calls (and certainly don’t make calls!) during the interview. To resist the temptation to check your phone, stow your phone in your bag before the interview and avoid one of the most common interview mistakes.
5. Not knowing anything about the company
Background information including company history, locations, divisions, and a mission statement are available in an “About Us” section on most company websites. Review it ahead of time, then print it out and read it over just before your interview to refresh your memory. Also check the company’s LinkedIn page, Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook page, if they have one.
6. Fuzzy CV facts
Make sure you know the information on your CV backwards, including dates of prior employment, graduation dates, and previous employer contact information. It’s understandable that some of your older experiences may be hard to recall. Review the facts before your interview. It can be helpful to keep a copy of your CV for yourself to refer to during your interview, to keep those interview mistakes at bay.
7. Not paying attention during the interview
Don’t let yourself zone out during an interview. Make sure you are well-rested, alert and prepared. Getting distracted and missing a question looks bad on your part. If you zone out, your potential employer will wonder how you will be able to stay focused during a day on the job, if you can’t even focus during one interview. If you feel your attention slipping away, make the effort to stay engaged. Maintain eye contact, lean forward slightly when talking to your interviewer, and make an active effort to listen effectively.
8. Talking too much
There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on. The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused. Don’t get side-tracked and start talking about your personal life – your spouse, your home life or your children are not topics you should delve into. No matter how warm, welcoming or genial your interviewer may be, an interview is a professional situation – not a personal one.
9. Not being prepared to answer questions
Your interviewer is probably going to ask you more than just the basics about where you worked, and then. To get a feel of your aptitude for a job, your interviewer is going to take advantage of the allotted time and flesh out everything he or she needs to know about you as an employee. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard. Make time to pre-empt what you may be asked and how best to answer them.
10. Bad mouthing past colleagues
Don’t make one of the classic interview mistakes; bad mouthing your boss or co-workers. It’s sometimes a smaller world than you think and you don’t know who your interviewer might know, including that boss who is an idiot… You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best. When interviewing for a job, you want your employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature and effective way, rather than badmouthing your co-workers or talking about other people’s incompetence.
If you’re looking for a new role, contact us at Intelligent People today. We’d love to hear from you and help you find your next position.