12 Common Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Interview Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

What are the most common interview mistakes you should avoid at all costs? When it comes to job interviews, first impressions are vital. You should take advantage of this moment to highlight your best attributes and leave a great first impression. Thus, it’s crucial to prepare in advance to avoid situations that could cost you the job. With that in mind, let’s look at the most common interview mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Common interview mistakes

1. Going in unprepared
2. Being unsure of your resume facts
3. Forgetting to bring your resume
4. Arriving late or too early
5. Having poor body language
6. Dominating the conversation
7. Wearing inappropriate attire
8. Badmouthing previous bosses or colleague
9. Not paying attention
10. Not preparing for common interview questions
11. Failing to ask questions
12. Forgetting to follow up

1. Going in unprepared 

It’s critical to prepare for an interview to arrive confident and feel prepared. Learn about the company’s history, its market position, its competitors, as well as key members. Moreover, ensure that you understand the position. Failure to do so will make you appear indifferent and lazy. 
Preparing also means planning how you’ll get to your interview and accounting for any potential delays. There are no excuses for being late for your job interview. However, if the delay is outside your control, let the interviewer know. 

2. Being unsure of your resume facts

You might be requested to fill out a job application even if you’ve submitted a resume already. So, make sure you have all the information you’ll need to fill out the application. This includes dates of previous employment, graduation dates, and contact information. 
It’s natural to be forgetful of some of your past jobs and achievements. So, before your interview, go through this information again. Take the time to review your work history if necessary. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your resume on hand during the interview, but don’t rely on it. 

3. Forgetting to bring your resume

Even if the interviewers have printed copies of your resume, you should bring extra copies. It demonstrates that you’re prepared and professional. You should also bring any other documents the employer requested. For example, you might need to bring a brief or a portfolio of your work. Remember that it’s always better to have and not use them than having the employer request documents you don’t have.

4. Arriving late or too early

Making the wrong first impression by arriving late for an interview is not a smart idea. Therefore, most interviewers advise arriving 10-15 minutes early. You should avoid being late or arriving too early for your job interview. However, accidents do happen. So, if you’re going to be late, let the interviewer know as soon as possible to prevent wasting their time.

5. Having poor body language

Your body language can and will affect interviewer’s first impression. Being shy or nervous might have a detrimental impact on your body language. For example, you might appear bashful or uninterested if you never smile and avoid eye contact. Instead of these, practice good posture, firm handshake, and solid eye contact before the interview to become natural.

6. Dominating the conversation

Don’t go into the interview thinking you’re the only one who wants to find a good match. Throughout the interview, you should ask questions to determine if the job and the company are all things you want. However, you should let the conversation flow and allow the interviewer to get to know you. Remember that the interview is not a sales pitch and shouldn’t become a monologue. Similarly, your questions should be relevant to the position, and you should only raise them when prompted to do so by the interviewer.

7. Wearing inappropriate attire

It’s critical to appear professional and polished during a job interview. However, your attire may vary depending on the position you’re interviewing for. For example, you can wear business casual clothing to a non-professional interview, while high-level corporate positions require more professional attire. Overall, it’s important to appear well-dressed and put together regardless of the position.

Read more: Job Interview Outfits to Make a Great First Impression

8. Badmouthing previous bosses or colleagues

Complaining about coworkers and bosses or bringing up the negatives of your job will sabotage your chances. At the very least, it will raise red flags for the interviewer. They will likely wonder what you would say about them in similar situations. 
Thus, you should be polite regardless of why you’re leaving your previous or current job. 
Instead of focusing on other people’s mistakes, emphasize the constructive actions you took to overcome them. This demonstrates your ability to be proactive and cooperate in a team.

9. Not paying attention

Allowing yourself to drift off during an interview is not a good idea. Although it’s a minor detail, it can appear like you are distracted and uninterested. The interviewer might question how you will stay concentrated on the job if you can’t focus during one interview. So, before an interview, make sure you’re rested, attentive, and ready to go. 
Also, try to remain attentive even if you notice your attention sliding away. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer, lean forward when speaking with them, and listen actively. 

10. Not preparing for common interview questions 

Most likely, the interviewer will ask you more than just the basics regarding where and when you worked. They will try to learn everything they need to know about you as an employee to determine whether you’re a good fit. 
Thus, allowing yourself to be caught off guard is a bad idea. Prepare for your interview by studying common interview questions and practicing answering them. Also, focus on tailoring your answers to the position. To demonstrate your abilities, think of examples of when you have overcome challenges and achieved great results.

Read more: 10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers

11. Failing to ask questions

As the interview nears its conclusion, the recruiter will ask if you have any questions for them. Here, saying no is not an option. Firstly, you don’t want to miss out on a chance to get answers to your questions about the job and the company. Secondly, asking relevant, thoughtful questions demonstrates your interest in the position. You may inquire about any current projects the company is working on, future plans, or the company culture. However, avoid asking about basic topics you should have researched, as well as about job benefits. Prepare at least two or three questions beforehand, so you’ll always have a backup.

12. Forgetting to follow up

Make sure to send a thank-you email after the interview. If you don’t have everyone’s contact information, email the person you first contacted and ask them to forward it. This demonstrates that you are serious about the job and grateful for the chance to interview for it.

Read more: Thank You Email After an Interview: Best Examples

 

Although small, these common interview mistakes could make the difference between getting hired or not. Setting your nerves aside can be challenging, but if you want to shine in job interviews, it’s necessary. Being confident will let your personality shine and give the interviewer a better idea of who you are. On top of that, avoiding these 12 common interview mistakes will put you miles ahead of the other candidates.


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Isabel Thottam Career Writer

Isabel Thottam

Isabel Thottam is a freelance writer and human resources professional, writer for CNBC, Business Insider, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine based in Seattle.

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