How to Avoid the 10 Most Common Job Interview Mistakes

A recent survey of hiring managers revealed the most common mistakes that candidates make in job interviews. Unless you’re perfect, you’ve probably made at least one of them before. And nobody’s perfect.

The good news is that identifying these common job interview mistakes makes it easier to avoid them in future. Here are the top 10 mistakes, according to the survey by Barclays LifeSkills:

  1. Failing to do their research (51%)
  2. Showing off (31%)
  3. Asking no questions (31%)
  4. Not acting engaged with the interviewer (30%)
  5. Making up answers (29%)
  6. Lying about achievements (29%)
  7. Not dressing appropriately (26%)
  8. Rambling on (24%)
  9. Can’t explain what they will bring to the role (23%)
  10. Moaning about their employer (19%)

And this is what you should do to avoid them:

1. Failing to do their research

This one should be obvious but apparently it’s not. It’s easy to avoid by actually doing some research. You should make sure that you have an understanding of what the company does, recent developments in your field, recent developments in the company’s sector and any recent news about the company.

2. Showing off

Instead of saying things you think the interviewer wants to hear, answer honestly. Of course, you should present yourself in the best light but don’t go overboard and end up boasting.

3. Asking no questions

Asking some questions of your own in an interview makes you seem engaged and interested. Before the interview, make a note of three or four questions to ask. That way, even if one or two of them are covered in the course of things, you will still have something to ask.

Stuck? Don’t worry, some ideas of what to ask can be found here.

4. Not acting engaged with the interviewer

Make sure your body language doesn’t make you look bored. Sit up and lean forward to visibly express your interest. It’s also important to make eye contact. A trick to help you do this in a non-creepy way is to imagine a triangle made up of the interviewer’s eyes and nose and cycle through these three points. This will stop you from staring at one point for too long.

5. Making up answers and 6. Lying about achievements

These two are related and can be dealt with in the same way – be honest. If you are a solid candidate who is genuinely interested in the opportunity, you shouldn’t need to lie.

7. Not dressing appropriately

This isn’t as simple as wearing a suit anymore and should be part of your pre-interview research. Find out about the company and its culture to get clues on an appropriate outfit.

For more advice on what to wear to a startup job interview, click here.

8. Rambling on

To avoid doing this, take a short pause before you start speaking. A three- to five-second pause will give you enough time to get your thoughts in order, allowing you to express yourself clearly and succinctly.

Rambling is often caused by nervousness, so you should also check out these tips on how to handle your interview nerves.

9. Can’t explain what they will bring to the role

This is another thing you can avoid with proper preparation. Make sure that you take a long, detailed look through the job description so that you really understand what the employer is looking for. Then, think about exactly what you have to offer that will fulfill that.

10. Moaning about their employer

It’s tempting to vent your frustrations about a bad boss or work environment, but it won’t do you any favours. Instead, focus on the positives of what you learned and how you overcome problems.

Forewarned is, as they say, forearmed. So just knowing about these mistakes should also help you avoid them. Next time you have a job interview, run through them beforehand and make a conscious effort to avoid them.

 

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