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Five common interview mistakes that could cost you the job

  • November 19, 2020

The interview is often the last stage of a lengthy application process. Ensure you’re fully prepared and don’t ruin your chances of securing your dream job by making these five basic but common mistakes.


  1. Not doing your homework

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. We can’t emphasize it enough. With the internet at your fingertips, there is no excuse for not doing your homework before an interview. Despite this, many clients often tell us that a candidate didn’t get the job because it was clear that they hadn’t prepared enough. Don’t let the employer stump you with the question “What do you know about us?”, it is one of the easiest questions to ace. Take the time to thoroughly research the business, look at their history, values and culture. Seek out information on social media or in the press and look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. It won’t be possible to understand everything about the company, and the interviewer won’t expect you to, but it certainly pays to do your research.


  1. Criticising previous employers

Most interviewers will ask you about your previous role and employer. Regardless of why you left the company, never make the mistake of criticising the people or business you worked for. We all know there are some employers, colleagues and bosses out there who are awful. However, displaying animosity towards them will only serve to shine a negative light on you. Frustrations and clashes arise in many organisations, so a potential employer wants to know that you can manage yourself through this rather than simply calling it quits when irritations arise. When talking about your professional experiences, you can still describe the “challenges” you overcame, but always ensure you place a positive spin on the situation. No one likes negativity.


  1. Not presenting professionally

No matter how casual the dress code is for the company you are interviewing for, always ensure you’re dressed professionally. But presentation doesn’t just come down to clothes, it also applies to body language. Be engaging throughout your interview, smile and laugh whenever you feel it is appropriate and display open body language when you communicate. When most prospective employers make a decision within the first few minutes of meeting you (sometimes even before you’ve opened your mouth), you will want to ensure your personal appearance and demeanour is on top form.


  1. Failing to ask questions

A job interview is also an opportunity for you, as a potential employee, to ask everything you want to know about the position. Almost every interviewer will factor in time at the end of the meeting for the candidate to ask questions. Don’t make the mistake of not preparing these in advance. Think about what questions will demonstrate that you are serious about the job and your long-term development within the company. Failing to ask questions can make the interviewer feel that you aren’t that interested in the role. Don’t, however, make the mistake of asking about when your first pay rise will be or how many sick days you are entitled to!


  1. Lying

Sadly, many candidates feel the need to lie in their interviews. This is always a bad idea, the interviewers will see right through you. Honesty can encompass everything, from where you went to school or why you’ve been fired or even what your IT skills are like. If you are found out to be selling a mistruth you could lose the offer. Also, if you actually secure the role, you’ll soon find yourself in an awkward position when the subject arises again. It is not worth it, be honest at all times.


Now that you know what you shouldn’t do in an interview, ask us for a free copy of our Succeed at Interview Guide for advice on everything that you should be doing!