10 things to avoid in interviews
The same mistakes pop up time and time again at job interviews. Too many of us miss out on the job because of small – and easy to avoid – interview mistakes. Some errors that people make at interview are very obvious while others are more subtle... Here is our list of the 10 things that are most likely to see you rejected at the interview stage
1. Not knowing enough about the job you're applying for
The key to preventing pre-interview jitters is to do as the Scouts do and 'be prepared'. We all worry about what we don't know and what we can't control, yet there is so much that you CAN do to plan and prepare for your interview and this is what you need to focus on. The first item on your list should be to thoroughly research the job. Not knowing the ins and outs of the role you've applied for is among the worst blunders you can make in an interview – as is failing to demonstrate to the interviewer how you meet the requirements of the job.
2. Arriving late
The importance of making appropriate travel arrangements to get to your interview may seem obvious, but being late for an interview – even by only a few minutes – is a very common mistake and will immediately count against you. It's important to arrive early to allow yourself time to relax.
3. Lacking enthusiasm
Enthusiasm in an interview is essential – just don't overdo it! Sometimes it might just be due to nerves and shyness but confident people inspire confidence in others, and if you appear confident that you are able to do the job then the employer is likely to be more inclined to believe that you can.
4. Dressing inappropriately
Presentation, Presentation, Presentation. The way you dress and present yourself will make an impression on an interviewer before you have even had a chance to open your mouth. Present yourself professionally and the interviewer will see you as a professional... and the opposite is also true. Never forget that you are marketing yourself. Image is everything!
5. Answering the wrong question
It's actually surprisingly easy for your thoughts to stray during an interview as you're in a stressful situation. Interviewers often have to deal with candidates going off on a tangent and giving the answer to a totally different question than the one that was asked!
6. Failing to sell yourself Far too many candidates fail to sell themselves effectively at interview, giving boring, monosyllabic answers unsupported by any real-life examples. It's essential for you to prepare and create your own answers to potential interview questions. Flagging up specific, relevant examples from your own experience is an ideal way of reinforcing your point.
7. Parrot fashion
So many candidates make the mistake of sounding as if they're reciting from 1001 Interview Questions. Make sure you don't fall into this trap yourself. There are no universally 'right' answers to questions – just answers that are right for you. And you should be careful to make sure that your delivery is natural and doesn't come across as rehearsed.
8. Being critical of others
Having problems with the boss is the top reason people give in surveys for changing jobs; however, you should never say anything negative about a current or previous employer. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make at an interview and could cost you the job regardless of whether or not your criticism is justified. You should also avoid criticizing current or former colleagues.
9. Failing to ask your own questions
Interviews are a two-way process. Not preparing your own questions for the end of an interview is a common – and big – mistake. Almost all interviewers will give you a chance to ask questions and you should use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm. If you don't, you could come across as passive and uninterested.
10. Not following up after the interview
An interviewer will usually see anything up to a dozen people, so a friendly email a day after the interview will help keep you in their mind when it comes to short listing.