The most common interview mistakes people make

The most common interview mistakes people make

Job interviews are time-consuming and stressful but provide the opportunity to bring exciting new talent into the business.


From an interviewer’s perspective, they’ve done their research into the role, created a job description and posted the job listing online. For you, the applicant, you’ve seen a job listing, amended your CV to suit the role and applied.


You’ve impressed the recruiter with your CV and experience, and you’ve been invited for an interview. At this stage, you go from being a ‘job applicant’ to a ‘job candidate’.


While this is a step closer to securing the role, it doesn’t mean the struggle is over. You’ll still have to go through the interview process. Although this could be quite daunting, it’s important to remember that you have rights as an interviewee and there’re questions that your interviewer can’t ask.


Below, we explore some of the more popular mistakes applicants make during a job interview.


10 most common interview mistakes

We went through a massive list of mistakes people make during their interview (trust us there’re a lot!) and narrowed it down to 10 of the most common ones. They include:

10. Forgetting to follow-up: When most people leave a job interview, they leave it with a sigh of relief because they think their part is over. However, this isn’t really the case, it’s important to follow-up with your interviewers to stand out from the crowd of applicants. Once you’re done, send an email to the interviewer thanking them for their time. Doing this demonstrates your commitment as an employee to your potential employers.

9. Trashing previous employers: Employers aren’t interested in the nitty-gritty of your previous employment. They want to know what you did there and how those skills can transfer to their organisation. Instead of trashing your previous employers and stating everything they did wrong, concentrate on the things you did right. If you have issues that you think may arise in the new job, you may bring them up, but remember to be professional and diplomatic so as not to sound bitter or petty.

8. Talking in clichés: Nobody likes a cliché, saying things like “I’m hardworking”, “I’m a perfectionist”, “I’m a team-player”, ”this is my dream job” doesn’t do you any good as everyone that interviewed before you would have said exactly the same thing. Look at questions that lead to these questions as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

7. Inappropriate behaviour: Respect is essential to maintaining positive relationships in and out of the work setting. Making crude comments or jokes, swearing, racism, discrimination, sexism are all major no-nos in job interviews. It’s worth remembering, they’re recruiting for potential employees, not potential friends.

6. Using your phone: Appearing uninterested in an interview can drive potential employers crazy. While some interruptions are unavoidable during an interview, it’s important to control the ones that are. Your phone, for example; there’s no excuse for texting during an interview. It’s rude, disruptive and shows the interviewer that they’re not a top priority so why would they make you theirs? Put it away and keep it away.

5. Dressing inappropriately: Have you heard the expression ‘never judge a book by its cover’? Well, unfortunately, the sentiments don’t apply to job interviews. While you shouldn’t always make decisions according to your first impression, it does count for something. Depending on the role you apply for, you should come in dressed for the job. Carry out research into the company culture and check out pictures of employees on social media. If you’re unable to find any relevant information here, you can’t go wrong with a business smart.

4. Not doing your research: With the information applicants have access to, it’s incredible how some people still arrive at interviews without adequate preparation. As well as what the company does, you should conduct research into where the organisation is going and how you can contribute to it.

3. Not asking questions: Most interviews will allow some extra time after the interview to answer any questions that you might have about the job, company or co-workers. They know that just as they’re vetting you, you’re also vetting them. Not preparing questions to ask shows that either you don’t care or aren’t organised enough to prepare questions.

2. Arriving late: As we mentioned above, first impressions really do matter. It can even begin before you arrive at the interview. Your interview date and time have been allocated to suit everyone’s schedule. When you arrive late, as well as showing a lack of respect for their time, you’re also showing that you lack effective time management skills. That being said, there are instances where a late arrival is unavoidable. If this is the case, you should contact the interviewer to let them know that you’re running late, provide them with an estimate of your arrival time and apologise profusely.

1. Lying: A survey by CareerBuilder found that over 75% of employers and hiring managers have caught a lie on a CV. While it may be tempting to lie or exaggerate during an interview or in your CV, it can come back to bite you. When you lie on your CV, it’s something that you’d need to remember in the interview. And if you get caught, there’s a big chance that you won’t get the job, you have wasted everyone’s time and you have burned a bridge you could have referred to in the future.

Article submitted by Peninsula Business Services Ltd.

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