Biggest Interview Mistakes

Published: 04 Dec 2014

Everyone wants to make the best impression possible at a job interview and that's going to be a lot easier if you're aware of some of the most common mistakes made by job-seekers when facing a prospective employer.

Here's what not to do when you're facing the selection panel:

1. Time is of the essence:

It seems obvious, but don't be late. Plan your journey the night before and leave the house half an hour earlier than you think you should to be on the safe side. Turning up even a couple of minutes late will make the employer think you couldn't be bothered making the effort and will raise concerns over time-keeping if you were to be employed by them.

2. Dress to impress:

Business dress is the appropriate attire for 99 per cent of interviews. Even if you're going for a job in a bar or cafe, turn up looking smart and pay attention to your personal grooming. Run your interview outfit past a friend or relative and get their opinion. For women, watch that hemlines and necklines aren't too high or too low and for men, make sure your suit is freshly laundered and pressed. A job interview is no place for laundry basket chic.

3. Body language:

You might be nervous, but try not to let it show. If your hands are shaking or you're inclined to fidget, clasp both hands together in your lap. Try not to cross and uncross your legs too much and don't play with your hair/continually touch your face/play with jewellery. Try to sit up, watch your posture and maintain eye contact at a comfortable level with your interviewer.

4. Sweet smell of success:

Be aware of what you eat and drink up to 24 hours before an interview. You may find yourself regretting last night's curry when you waltz into the interview room wafting a whiff of garlic behind you. Same goes for booze. You should also watch you don't mainline caffeine before your interview slot. It could make you seem jittery and a tad too intense if you overdo it.

5. Be prepared.

Do your homework. You may have learned your CV off by heart, but if you've no knowledge of the company you're visiting, forget it. Employers may ask you a few basic questions about their business (“So, what do you know about us then?”) and you have to be able to answer - you cannot fudge it. At the very least, go online, research the company's website and learn a few facts and figures to throw in where you can.

6. Question time:

Asking too many questions can be as bad as asking none. Some people become ultra-inquisitive when nervous, and if that's you, try to keep a lid on it. Think about it - how will your interviewer feel if the tables are turned on them and they're the ones who feel like they're on the spot? A definite no-no.

Body language.

7. Critical mass:

Don't ever criticise a current or previous employer. Bad-mouthing your boss will only give the impression that you're difficult to work with and are the type of person who perhaps holds grudges. Not a good look.

Don't have an interview lined up? Be sure to upload your CV to our database and set up a job alert catered to your search. 

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