8 Common Mistakes you Need to Avoid in Interviews


Your resume is effective and you have been invited to the job interview.

You will probably think, well, I’ll just turn up and be myself. This is fine, but it won’t get you the job! The best person for the job, if you talk about the right skills, experience and achievements doesn’t always pass the interview. Too many candidates miss out on their dream job because of common blunders made during the hiring interview.

These are the 8 common mistakes you need to avoid in interviews.

1. Not knowing enough about the job you applied for

The way to prevent pre-interview jitters is to prepare yourself thoroughly. There is a lot you can do to prepare and plan for the interview and the first thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the job position you have applied for. When you know what the job entails, you will be able to demonstrate to the interviewers that you meet the basic requirements of the job. If you want to convince the interviewers that you are right for the role, you will need to research and understand exactly what the job involves. Go over the job advertisement and description of the role in detail. Compare how your resume compares with the outline of the job role, then try to identify how and why you are a good match.

2. Being late for the interview

Meeting a potential employer isn’t a coffee date with a friend.

When you are late, it affects everything. No matter how well you fare in the interview, the interviewer will not leave with a good impression of you. Showing up late implies a lack of respect and irresponsibility amongst other things like lack of time management. On the contrary, arriving too early for interviews may also disrupt other's work schedules, so make it a point to arrive just 15 minutes before the interview and not more than that. Arriving early allows you time to relax and compose yourself for the big interview ahead.

 3. Dressing inappropriately

The way you present yourself physically will make an impression on your interviewer before you even open your mouth. Do not forget that you are marketing yourself to your future employer and the way you present yourself can have an impact on them that is almost as powerful as what you actually have to say. Make sure that you are wearing an outfit that is smart and fits you well. Keep clothes plain and classic and avoid fancy colours or logos. While it is important to dress comfortably, it doesn’t mean that you should wear tracksuit bottoms or sandals to the interview. Your future employer’s dress policy could be casual, but save your fashion choices until after you have landed the job. Dress to impress!

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 4. Poor body language

There are some negative actions such as nose picking or adjusting your skirt which most of us avoid when we are standing outside the interview room. But less obvious ones such as crossing your arms, tapping your feet and playing with your hair which may appear to others that you are defensive, bored or nervous. The importance of body language as a factor in the decision making process should not be undermined. There are some positive actions that you can adopt to your advantage during the interview process. Firstly, shake hands firmly with your interviewers. A weak handshake implies weakness and lack of enthusiasm while an overly strong handshake may imply arrogance. Maintain good eye contact to convey trust and confidence but it should not be overdone to the point of staring or making anyone feel uncomfortable. At certain points during the interview, a smile is called for, for instance when you first meet and when you leave. A smile leaves a positive effect on your potential employers perception of you.

 5. Failing to ask questions of your own

Interviews are always a two-way interaction. Many interviews are likely to conclude with “Do you have any questions for us?” and the worst thing to say is that you have no questions for the interviewers. You should use this opportunity to clear up any doubts you have about the job scope and to further demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in securing the job. If you don’t, you will come across as being passive and not interested to be part of their team. Asking too many questions on the other hand, could be seen as being nitpicking on the routine functions on the job or overburdening your interviewers. As a rule, ask 2-3 questions and save the rest for another day.

 6. Prematurely talking about money

It is wise not to bring up compensation and benefits – unless of course the interviewers brings up these topics. Bringing up these matters during interviews can mean that you are emphasizing what you are expecting from the employer, rather than what you are offering them and that is never a good idea. Such matters can be discussed during the job offer or subsequent interviews.

 7. Lying during the interview

While we tend to accentuate the positives and strengths of ourselves during interviews, lying and presenting yourself in an exaggerated image could lead to serious consequences for yourself and the company. Not only will you get fired, you will jeopardise your career. If you were hired with the skills you claimed to possess, it is only a matter of time before your manager finds out the truth. Most employers will certainly do a check of your employment history and references before or after the interview, so be honest about any career gaps or past situations when being asked. If you know that you have a weakness in one area, share how you would take on additional training to improve on that skill.

 8. Badmouthing past employers

It always reflects negatively on you when you are critical of your previous or current employers. Displaying negativity about others shows that you will a bring a bad attitude to the next job and is someone who is difficult to work with. It is never okay to diss your ex-employers, no matter what they did or broke the law. The world is small and who knows if your future employers may actually know your ex employers? You might even be labelled a complainer and workplace whiners tend to bring down employee morale and productivity. What goes around comes around. Refrain from making any snide remarks about your past employers and always remain professional.

We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?

Let us know in the comments and please share this post with a friend/colleague if you enjoyed it!

Topics: Talent Management

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