An interview is one of the first impressions your potential employers will have of you. It’s your chance to share your experiences, skills and show your personality. Interviews in person may be less common nowadays, especially for remote opportunities but the principles of this article apply to all in person, video call and telephone interviews. By avoiding these common mistakes you’ll increase your chances of being invited back for a second interview and potentially being hired by a great company.
Here are 10 easy to make interview mistakes and how to avoid them…
1. Showing up late OR not at all ⏱
Sometimes in life things happen unexpectedly and out of our control, however if you know you are running a little late for your interview, do the courtesy of letting your interviewer or recruiter know. The same goes for being unable to attend the interview at all, let them know and explain your reasons for this. If you do not inform your interviewer in either of these situations you will give the impression of poor time management skills, unprofessionalism and a lack of respect. In some circumstances you may not get a second chance.
2. Dressing inappropriately 👔👗
Whether your interview is in person or via video call, dress to make a good impression. Wearing inappropriate clothing will make you look unprofessional. There is no need to dress in your best suit or dress but wear something respectable. Don’t be tempted to rock up in your PJs or loungewear!
3. Body language 🙅🏼♂️
Body language is very important during an interview, it can show the interviewer how interested you are in the opportunity. Maintain eye contact and sit upright in your chair, don’t slump or lean. Use non-verbal cues such as nodding and smiling to show the interview that you are listening and engaging in what they’re saying.
4. Being distracted 👀
Before your interview make sure you are well-rested, alert and prepared. Do not get distracted by what is going on around you. If you are interviewing via telephone or video call, ensure you are in a quiet room away from other people, children and furry friends. Stay focused, actively listen and respond to the interviewer. Not paying attention to the interviewer will make them think you are not taking it seriously or interested in the role.
5. Using your mobile phone 📱
Before your interview, make sure your phone is switched off or turned to silent and place it somewhere out of sight. Looking at your phone during an interview is rude and again shows a lack of interest in the situation.
6. Bring unprepared 😬
Before going into your interview, prepare! Research the company by looking into their history, locations and projects. Take a look at the ‘about me’ page on their website, their LinkedIn profile and even their Twitter & Facebook accounts. If they ask the question ‘what do you know about this company?’, you’ll have an answer ready and you’ll look keen and prepared.
7. Failing to ask questions 📝
Asking the interviewer questions shows you are curious about the company and the role. Ask about the team, the projects they're working on, the next steps and various other related questions. You could even make notes throughout the interview of points you would like to ask at the end.
8. Avoiding answering questions 😶
Your interviewer will ask you questions - ‘where have you worked previously?’, ‘what relevant experience do you have?’, ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, ‘what are you looking for in a role?’. Before your interview, prepare answers to these kinds of questions so you are not caught off guard or feel put on the spot. Don’t be vague or dismissive with your answers, answer honestly and confidently.
9. Talking too much OR not enough 🗣
Keep your answers focused and to the point, don’t ramble. Keep the conversation professional and give the interview the chance to talk as well. Equally, don’t speak too little or give one worded answers to questions. As mentioned above, being prepared for certain questions and situations will help with this.
10. Speaking badly of past employers & colleagues 👎🏼
Don’t make the crucial mistake of talking badly about your past employers or colleagues, no matter how bad the situation may have been. It’s a ‘small world’ and you don’t know who your interviewer may know. If they ask you about a time where you dealt with a particularly difficult situation, try to answer positively. Explain what you learnt from the situation and how you would deal with the same problem in the future. The interviewer wants to know if you could fit into their team, work well with others and that you are able to resolve conflicts or tricky situations in a calm and professional manner.
For some, these points may seem obvious, for others maybe not but going into an interview with these do’s & don’t will ensure you make a great first impression and increase your chances of moving forward in the process. Prepare and focus, good luck!