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Common interview mistakes you might be making

Posted on 27 October 2021

Common interview mistakes you might be making

​7-minute read


When was the last time you had interview training?

Probably never, to be honest, therefore you might be making some very common interview mistakes without realising.

The job interview, be it in person or over the phone is your first real chance to show a prospected employer who you are, what you can do and where your skills lie. Avoiding these mistakes will help boost your confidence upfront which in turn will boost your chances of moving forward closer to your dream job.

During this article we will cover six common mistakes that we see, explaining what they are and how to overcome them, bringing simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

The six we will cover are:

  • Showing up late.

  • Lacking research.

  • Not paying attention.

  • Not answering the question correctly.

  • Talking too much.

  • Speaking badly of past employers.


Showing up late

Showing up late, or not at all (without reason) will not only show a lack of professionalism but it sends a message to the organisation that you do not value their time.

A telephone or remote interview will take less preparation time but ensure your signal is strong enough and if you’re using a webcam, it is connected with your surroundings clear.

If you are meeting in person, we recommend doing a dummy run to the office (if possible) so you know roughly the time in which it will take you to get there.

On the off chance you are going to be late or need to cancel for whatever reason, let the interviewer know as soon as possible, call them first and if no answer, send them an email explaining the situation.


Lacking research

The latest you should be conducting research on a prospected employer is when your interview has been booked in, but we highly recommend starting this at the application stage.

Conducting in-depth research ahead of time will not only calm any nerves you might have surrounding a business, but when the inevitable question ‘why do you want to work with us’ comes up (which nine times out of ten it does) you will be in a very comfortable position to state-specific reasonings related to the research you have conducted.

We suggest researching the company’s history, values, mission, products, current team and the interviewers themselves.


Not paying attention

This one seems pretty obvious but you will be surprised how many interviewers have told us of times that candidates just seemed disinterested. Remember, this is your time to shine, you beat all the other applicants to this stage in the process, it is time to be present and attentive throughout the interview. Let the employer see your enthusiasm through nonverbal communication and ensure you are listening to each question carefully.


Not answering the question correctly

This leads directly on from the point above, when you are not paying attention, you might miss important information that will help you answer a question correctly.

You don’t need to answer every tech question correctly during an interview, what we are referring to here is when you might completely miss the point of the question or answer it in a very long-winded way.

When this happens, it indicates to the interviewer a lack of understanding around the topic or a lack of active listening. To combat this, take a moment to reflect on the question before answering, if you are unsure about something have them repeat it. Be concise with your answer and direct to the point.


Talking too much

Of course, during an interview, you are meant to talk and usually, you will be speaking around 70 – 75% of the interview. The key is to use this time wisely, answer the questions in detail as mentioned before but also move the interview away from ‘question/answer’ towards a conversation with the interviewer.

To do this, practice open-ended questions at the end of your answer, this will keep the conversation flowing and make the entire interview flow better. It will also give your interviewer a chance to speak, letting you collect your thoughts ready for the next question.


Speaking badly of past employers

Possibly one of the biggest mistakes you can make is speaking badly of a past employer or manager. It shows a sign of disrespect to the prospected employer, as well as a lack of professionalism. Generally, what runs through interviewers’ heads when this happens is ‘if you can say something bad about them, what can you say about us if things do not work out?’

You might not have a lot of nice things to say about a past employer or manager, however, focus on what you learnt during your time with them, allowing yourself to highlight positives that could in turn help land your dream job.


Some of these mistakes seem obvious, and others may be less so. However, we hope you have at least one takeaway from reading this article today, save this for later if you wish or share it with a friend if you feel they could benefit from it, alternatively if you are looking for a new job and need some support in your search then reach out to one of our internal recruiting partners today.

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