top 8 interview mistakes to avoid

| August 4, 2020

Congrats! You have landed a job interview. Getting to this step in the application process is a huge deal. Now you need to make sure you do all you can to advance and become the final candidate who receives the job offer. Here are eight of the most common interview mistakes.

1. Arriving Late

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early so that you have plenty of time to find parking, pass any screenings at the door, stop at a restroom to check your appearance and make your way to the designated interview area.  Arriving early shows that you are organized, reliable and interested. This time also can be used to compose yourself and mentally prepare.

It is also important to note that arriving too early can have negative consequences by irritating the hiring manager and disrupting schedules.

2. Being Unprepared

Be sure you take time to prepare for the interview. At a minimum you should understand the role and the company’s culture.  Try to learn what current employees think about working there. Read up on the company and its advantages in the marketplace.   

Prepare your responses to the fundamental interview questions used by most interviewers. These questions include details on your background, your skills, your interest in the company and why you think you are a good fit for the organization and role. Notice if an interviewer asks you to provide a specific example in your response and be certain you do. If asked about experience gaps, don’t hesitate to provide those that are real; you want to show that you’ve thought thoroughly about the opportunity.  It’s okay to admit areas that challenge you. Offer ways in which you address them.

Think of it like preparing for a test. The more you study the better you perform and the more comfortable and calm you are during the test. Lack of preparation is easily spotted by an experienced interviewer.

3. Dressing Inappropriately

The old adage of dress for the job you want, not the job you have still holds true today. Although we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, it is hard to an interviewer to overlook inappropriate or rumpled and wrinkled clothing. Take time to carefully select your clothing, Shoes are important to your overall appearance; make sure they are appropriate and clean. Practice good personal hygiene and look in the mirror before your head out to the interview.

4. Talking Too Much

Stick to answering the questions that are asked in a manner that is as efficient and concise as possible. In addition to your answers, the interviewer is also assessing your ability to communicate and your critical thinking skills.  Stay away from long-winded stories especially those not relevant to the topic of the questions.

5. Bad Mouthing Past Employers

You want your prospective employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature way.  Avoid blaming or criticizing co-workers, supervisors or employers.  Also, it is important to remember that it is a small world, and the person interviewing you may know your current boss or coworkers. Overall, it leaves a bad impression and causes the interviewer to wonder how you would behave if you would leave the new company on terms that aren’t the best.

6. Acting Uninterested

Body language is key. Slumped shoulders, lack of eye contact, slowness when responding, and a general lack of enthusiasm for the company or role are telltale signs that you are uninterested. If you don’t act like you want the job, why would anyone hire you?

7. Using Your Phone During the Interview

We shouldn’t have to elaborate on this one, but we will. Silence your phone before you get to your interview or even better leave it in the car.  Stealing glances at your phone, even to simply check the time, may come off as rude or indicate you are easily distracted. Using your phone during an interview sends a clear message that the job is not a priority.

8. Having a Weak Close

Typically, an interviewer will ask if you have questions.  Think about your questions in advance and be prepared to ask several.  When the interview is finished, make eye contact with each person in the room, state your interest in the opportunity and thank her/him for the time spent. 

Send each person involved a personal message of appreciation for the opportunity to interview and state your specific reasons for wanting the position.

Most of these examples may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how often these mistakes occur. If you do your best to avoid these errors, you should shorten your job search.