Errors to Avoid at Interviews

You’ve made it past the selection process and been invited to interview. This process can be daunting for the best of us and takes years of practice to get right. To help you turn that dream job application into an offer, make sure to avoid these interview pitfalls…

Arriving Late

Being on time for interviews is vital. Showing up late is unprofessional and will not sit well with an employer or recruiter. In their eyes, if you’ve shown up late for the interview, you’ll also show up late for the job.

How to avoid: Plan or reschedule

Plan your travel arrangements on the day, ensuring you account for traffic time, commuting time and giving yourself plenty of time to arrive. We suggest using Google Maps to help you.

Alternatively, in this age of virtual job interviews, make sure to test your tech and the app that will be used to conduct the video call. Download any updates to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

If, however, you have an emergency or a very good reason for running late, call ahead to notify or reschedule.

Dressing Inappropriately

While judgement is predominantly (and rightly) based on your interview performance, first impressions count for a lot – and how you present yourself can carry major weight.

Candidates who dress inappropriately and look messy won’t last long. You need to take yourself seriously so that the employer takes you seriously.

How to avoid: Dress to impress

Ask yourself – if I was going to work for this position instead of an interview, how would I want to look? Then dress accordingly. Professional attire is still considered the most appropriate etiquette for interviews.

It really should go without saying but make sure you groom and look clean the morning of your interview. You tend to feel your best when you look your best!

Poor Body Language

Body language sometimes speaks louder than words. Think about how you come across if your arms are folded and you look disinterested.

Low enthusiasm during the interview is a career killer. If you are not passionate or excited about the job, it’s going to come off in your tone, posture, and body language. The interviewer will spot this immediately and will mentally cross you out.

How to avoid: Make eye contact, smile and be friendly

Eye contact, good posture, a cheerful demeanour, and a firm handshake go a long way in an interview. After all, this is what you’ll be bringing to the company.

As the interview begins, pay attention to the interviewer’s tone and body language.

Sit up straight with shoulders straight but relaxed. Always look straight at the interviewer when you are listening to or answering a question. Keep a warm smile throughout the interview and demonstrate your engagement by using non-verbal cues such as nodding to show you’re actively listening.

Lack of Preparation

By not properly preparing in advance of your interview you’ll immediately put yourself on the back foot. If you show up not knowing anything about the company, or worse, the position itself, you’ll come across as highly unprofessional. Trust us when we say you can’t wing an interview.

Companies are looking for someone that is informed about what they do, are showing enthusiasm for working for them and can see themselves in the role they are applying for.

How to avoid: Do some research and prepare answers

Visit the company’s website and check out their unique selling points. Find out what their mission statement and values are. Research their industry and look into their competitors.

Next, break down the position you are applying for. What will your responsibilities be? What key skills are required for the role? The interviewer is going to ask you specific questions about the position and will ask you to give examples. So, prepare some answers that will highlight the skills and abilities you can bring.

Speaking Negatively About Your Employers

Maybe you’ve had a horrible boss, or your previous team were very unprofessional. You might have had such a bad experience that it’s the reason you quit your job.

However, you should never share these details with your interviewer. You might appear unprofessional, mean-spirited, or hostile. The interviewer might think you were the problem instead and may even fear you will badmouth them in the future too.

How to avoid: Keep it classy

You might be asked about your previous managers, the company, or reasons for leaving your current role. Remember you are not required to give too many details. Although there might be some negativity inside of you, keep it classy. Give a positive and professional answer.

Lying on your CV and in the interview

Be honest from the start to the end of the interview. Anything written on your CV could be discussed so any fabrications about your work or education record will damage your chances. If a lie is discovered, you can pretty much kiss your chances of success goodbye.

How to avoid: This is simple; don’t lie or fabricate details of your CV

Having No Questions to Ask

Employers want to gauge your level of interest, so will always ask at the end of the interview: “Do you have any questions for me?”

The worst thing you can do is say “…not really.”

How to avoid: Prep some questions

You should prepare some questions ahead of time such as specifics of the role, something about the company itself or the next steps in the interview process.

You’ll make a great impression by showing an added level of engagement through the questions you ask. Equally, the answers may help you better understand the role and whether it’s the right fit for you. So don’t pass up the opportunity!

Not Turning Up

It might surprise you but it’s a common occurrence for candidates to not show up to an interview after a change of mind, or other reasons.

If you decide not to show up on the day of the interview, it will be noted that you were a no-show. This essentially hurts your chances to be considered for any roles within that company.

How to avoid: Let the recruiter know

It’s incredibly important to contact the recruiter ahead of time so that the interview can be cancelled or rescheduled, and no one wastes their time. In addition to being apologetic, let them know why you no longer wish to pursue the role.

Of course, if you’re unable to attend for more serious reasons, such as accidents or family emergencies, let the recruiter know as soon as you can, they will be understanding and can guide you on the next steps.


If you require assistance in preparing for an interview or would like us to help in your job search fill in our contact form.

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