Being invited to a job interview is a big deal, especially if you have been trying to get a job for some time. Hence, it would be very unfortunate if you failed to land the job because of some mistakes you made during the interview, despite being qualified for the position.
Most of the time, one is unaware of making some of the most common mistakes. But seemingly harmless actions and gestures can have repercussions. If your employer observes you minutely, and you can be sure they will, it can prevent them from offering you the position. The thing is that almost all the mistakes one commonly makes during an interview are completely avoidable. You need to be careful and professional, and you can avoid any of them.
Unless there are some unavoidable circumstances, you should be able to conduct yourself perfectly during an interview with some prior practice. And you can always explain yourself professionally if any of your actions were offensive and why you did what you did.
Some Common and Avoidable Interview Mistakes
Here are some mistakes that can be made during an interview and how you can avoid them.
1. Inappropriate Dressing
You should always dress formally for your interviews. Jeans, T-shirts, or figure-hugging outfits should be avoided. It would be best if you considered wearing a suit or at least a blazer.
Even if you know that the interview might take place in a slightly unconventional setting, over brunch or lunch, you should at least dress in business casuals. Try to avoid wearing very bright colors or putting on very loud makeup. If you are unsure what to wear, you can also ask about the dress code.
Dressing inappropriately can instantly create a negative impression in the minds of your recruiters even before you have the chance to speak, so paying attention to what you wear is a must. Choose your outfit the night before the interview and have them ironed to avoid looking messy in a rush the next morning.
2. Not Paying Attention to Cleanliness
It would be best if you were well-rested and showered before heading for the interview. Avoid partying the night before and turning up without a shower, looking like a mess with a hangover. Or, if you are traveling through the rain on the day of the interview, avoid walking into the office with muddy shoes. Carry a spare pair in a spacious bag if you must.
Brush your hair neatly, make sure your shirt is neatly tucked, and try to smell nice. Paying attention to your appearance will mean you are eager to make a favorable impression and interested in your job.
3. Arriving Too Late or Too Early
Arriving too late for the interview would mean that you would have missed out on the chance to appear for the interview. Or someone else might have been chosen already. In case you get delayed on the way due to unavoidable circumstances, make sure you call up the office and inform them about the situation and let them know you are on your way.
Arrive too early, and you would only get in the way of the recruiters as they set up for the interview. The perfect solution is to reach the venue as early as possible but enter the building ten to fifteen minutes before the interview. That way, you would arrive just at the right time.
4. Not Keeping Your Phone on Silent
The constant dings from social media notifications or messages can be distracting during an interview. And if your phone is not on silent, then chances are you will also get calls and be compelled to check them. This will disrupt the entire interview process, and you and your hiring managers will be distracted while you speak.
This will also create a negative impression, and the distraction will also affect your performance. Just turn your phone off during the interview, and you won’t have anything to worry about.
5. Not Researching the Company
While you might know a bit about your position from the job description, not researching the company before appearing for the interview is terrible. You must know what the company aims to do and what its vision is. It would be best if you also had a clear idea about how the company wants to use you so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Feeling at a loss when the company talks about its mission and the kind of work it wants to do will leave you flustered. So make sure you go through the website and social media to know as much as possible about the organization.
6. Hiding or Overstating Facts on Resume
Putting incorrect information on the resume is one of the worst possible mistakes. Your employer has invited you for the interview based on the information you provided on your resume. Hence, when they ask you questions during the interview that you are unable to answer correctly, it will immediately make them suspicious.
Remember, these experienced people sitting across the table will spot a lie on the resume very quickly. And the truth will come out during a background check. Once that happens, not only will you lose the chance of gaining a spot at this company, but you might also be marked, and other recruiters will be wary of hiring you.
7. Speaking too Much
Your answers to the interview questions must be crisp and precise. Talking or sharing too much information to show off your knowledge is not always the best idea. You run the risk of losing focus and diverting to other topics unnecessarily.
This will only lead to more confusion, and you might lose clarity of what you set out to say. Keep your answers precise and to the point. If your recruiters want to know more, they will ask you additional questions.
8. Being Negative of Previous Employers
One of the mistakes you should avoid during your interview is to speak negatively about your previous organization and employers. Even if prospective employers ask you about your experience working in the previous organization, you should refrain from doing so. If there was too much friction and you had to quit, you can respond by saying there was some difference of opinion.
Never try to speak negatively or speak ill of your previous organizations. It shows you are unprofessional and ungrateful. After all, you did learn several things while on the job and focused on how your previous job helped you grow as an important member of the workforce.
9. Not Showing Enough Excitement
Your prospective employers should know that you are eager to get the job. Keep your energy levels high, work on your intonation and maintain eye contact to show you are interested in becoming a part of the organization. Otherwise, your employers will consider giving the job to a more enthusiastic candidate.
Also, never try to show that you have multiple job offers from other organizations and that your company is somehow lesser than them. Always be respectful to your recruiters for giving you the opportunity of appearing for the interview.
10. Not Bringing Your Resume
This seems trivial, but many candidates fail to carry their resumes and other necessary documents for the interview. They either forget them at home because they are rushing, or they assume that the recruiters won’t need them at an early stage of the interview.
Yes, your recruiter might have a copy of the resume you sent with your application, but it is better to carry a few more copies.
11. Not Having Any Questions
It would be best if you asked pertinent questions regarding the company to your employers and about your position and future in the company. Doing so gives the impression that you plan on staying long-term with the company.
Not having any questions means you have not done any research or are just not enthusiastic enough about your position. Also, do not just limit the questions to your salary and benefits. Try to understand the vision and goals of the company as well.
12. Discussing Personal Topics
Discussing personal topics during the interview is one of the worst possible mistakes. Unless the interviewers ask you about your family to get to know you better, bringing any other personal topics should be strictly off the table.
Do not tell prospective employers about how you have medical emergencies at home, which you need, or that you need the job to pay for your kid’s education.
13. Using Offensive Language
You must be formal and respectful throughout the interview and keep your emotions in check. It is understandable if you get excited during the interview, but you must refrain from using offensive language. Even apologizing after you have done it will not fix the mistake.
Swearing or using any other kind of offensive language will only mar your image. After all, a classy person never swears, and it shows your integrity as a person if you can keep your calm during a challenging period during the interview.
14. Not Following Up
Not following up after an interview is another mistake you should avoid. You should always call or send an email within 48 hours of the interview. Thank the recruiters for the opportunity and show your interest in the position. You can also politely ask when you can expect a response from them.
Sometimes, a person eager for the job and willing to learn has better chances of landing the job than someone with experience. The recruiters know they will benefit from investing in such a candidate. By not following up, you will give the impression that you are no longer interested in the position.
15. Not Showing Up
Lastly, not showing up for the interview and not informing the recruiters that you will be unable to make it is extremely unprofessional. It will jeopardize your chances of ever getting a call for an interview with the same company again. And considering word travels fast, your recruiters might also recognize you when you apply to another company.
Yes, something urgent could have come up at the last moment, or there could have been an emergency preventing you from making it to the interview. In that case, always call your recruiters, explain the situation and politely ask them to reschedule the interview. Your hiring managers will certainly do it when they see your professionalism and attention to detail.
Avoiding these mistakes at a job interview will substantially increase your chances of getting a job. Recruiters today do not just concentrate on your work experience and academic qualifications.
They are also very particular about the work ethics of the person they will hire for their team, and not making these mistakes will show you are diligent and pay attention to detail. Be calm before the interview; you will avoid many of these mistakes and go through the interview with flying colors.