No matter how long someone has been in the job market or how confident they may be, a job interview can spark plenty of nerves.
Thinking on one’s feet is essential during the typically brief question and answer session, and something as simple as an offhand comment or wrong choice of words can cause a negative impression.
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to ensure success in an interview by avoiding these mistakes.
Here’s a list of the 27 biggest interview mistakes that may happen during interviews, from attire to tone of voice. With ample preparation prior to the event, you can overcome them easily!
This way, we give you the best chance possible to truly shine in front of the hiring person and make the most impactful impression, ultimately resulting in being selected for your desired role!
27 BIG Interview Mistakes That Can Be Avoided Easily
1. Being Unprepared
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview is being unprepared. This means not doing your research on the company, not having any questions prepared, and not knowing anything about the role you’re interviewing for. Not only does this show a lack of interest in the position, but it also makes you look like you’re not taking the interview seriously.
How to avoid being unprepared for an interview?
- Research the company and understand its core values.
- Learn about the position you’re interviewing for and what specific skills and experiences are required.
- Then, practice your responses to common interview questions.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask during the interview.
- Dress for success and arrive on time.
2. Dressing Inappropriately
Another mistake to avoid is dressing inappropriately for the job interview. This means dressing too casually, wearing revealing clothing, or looking like you just rolled out of bed. It’s important to remember that first impressions matter, so you want to make sure you’re conveying the right message with your appearance.
How to dress professionally for an interview?
- Dress professionally – this doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit, but dress neatly and conservatively
- Wear something that makes you feel confident – if you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will show
- Avoid bright colors and busy patterns – stick to solid colors or small prints
- Pay attention to fit – make sure your clothes are tailored to your body type and don’t hang or bag too much
- Wear shoes that are clean and in good condition
3. Acting Nervous
If you’re feeling nervous, it’s important to try not to show it. Acting nervous can come across as a lack of confidence, which is not a good trait to have in a job interview. Instead, try to take a few deep breaths and relax your body before the interview begins.
How to avoid being nervous during the interview?
Do your homework. Before the interview, research the company and learn as much as you can about its products, services, history, and culture.
Not only will this help you answer questions intelligently, but it will also help you feel more confident and prepared.
Practice your responses to common interview questions. Chances are, the interviewer will ask about your experience, skill set, motivations, or why you’re interested in the role. Be prepared to answer these questions confidently and articulately.
4. Badmouthing your Current or Previous employer
Another mistake to avoid is badmouthing your current or previous employer. This will make you look unprofessional and like someone who isn’t able to hold down a job.
When asked about your past or current job, it’s important to take a deep breath, smile, and be diplomatic. No matter how you may feel, it’s never a good idea to make negative comments as they could lead you down a path that can damage future job prospects. Although it can be difficult, constructive criticism should rather be shared confidentially during tense conversations and usually after careful consideration.
5. Arriving Late
Being tardy to a job interview shows that you aren’t dependable or reliable, and tells the interviewer that this is how you will approach their business if they hire you. Even if it’s an accident, being late for an interview could cost you a job opportunity.
An employer doesn’t need someone who won’t show up on time to do tasks; thus, showing up late to an interview pretty much guarantees that you won’t get the job. To put it bluntly, these days, if you show up late for a job interview then chances are you’ll end up very unemployed.
6. Arriving too Early
Going to a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but being punctual and arriving at the right time is an important part of the process. As much as you don’t want to be late for the interview, it’s equally important that you don’t show up too early.
Arriving too early can give the wrong impression; either making you seem desperate or arrogant. The best thing to do is arrive ten minutes before your scheduled appointment. This allows enough time for any security checks you might need to go through and it’s better than risking being late or showing up too early.
If for whatever reason you end up getting there earlier then wait in your car or take a walk around the block – doing this will also help ease your nerves and ensure you’re fully prepared when your name is called.
7. Constantly Checking Your Phone
As tempting as it can be to quickly check your phone between pauses in the conversation during an interview, it’s important to stay focused and avoid distraction.
Not only is relying on your phone for guidance a sign that you’re unprepared for the interview, but it gives off an impression of disinterest and may ruin any rapport you have with the interviewer.
Put your phone away when meeting potential employers, turn it off or put it on do not disturb mode so you can give all your attention to the questions they have for you. That way, you don’t risk missing out on valuable information exchanges that could help you land the job.
8. Asking about Salary too early
Finally, one mistake to avoid is asking about salary too early in the process. This shows that you’re more interested in money than the actual job itself. Wait until you’ve been offered the position before asking about salary, benefits, vacation time, etc.
9. Neglecting to Practice your lines
During job interviews, it’s important to project an image of confidence and poise. Showing up unprepared with long pauses and halting answers can mar even the strongest resume. The key to success is thorough preparation – but that doesn’t mean you should cram for the occasion like a final exam.
Instead, focus on familiarizing yourself with your experience and goals, so that when the time comes, you can authentically and articulately speak about who you are and what you seek. With practice, you’ll be sure to impress in your upcoming interview.
10. Not Asking Any Questions
If you don’t take the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview, you may be sending a signal that you aren’t particularly interested in the job. Asking questions shows that you are curious and engaged in the process.
Even if it’s just a question about the next steps, taking part in the Q&A is an important way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. Investing even a few extra minutes to show your interest may make all the difference when it comes time for employers to make their decision.
11. Not Asking the Right Questions
Asking the right questions during a job interview is an essential skill to have in your repertoire. Not only can the wrong questions come across as invasive or unprofessional, but they also reveal very little about what could be your future role within the company.
When you’re interviewing, try to focus on questions that give you insight into the work environment and day-to-day tasks of the role.
Questions regarding the company’s approach to healthcare benefits or its attitude towards work-life balance are generally safe topics that can be explored without making a faux pas.
If a hiring manager senses that you’re not taking their interview seriously then don’t be surprised if your resume finds its way quickly down the nearest drain.
12. Exhibiting Low Energy
It’s natural to feel some pre-interview jitters, but the key is to not let it show. Displays of low energy can interfere with a successful job interview. Things like an unengaged tone of voice, lack of attention, no eye contact, and languid posture are sure to set alarm bells ringing in the head of any recruiter.
How to be at high energy levels during the interview?
To make sure you showcase your best side during the interview, getting enough sleep the night before is essential. If you do drink coffee beforehand then be sure to find just the right amount that will help you stay alert without giving way to jittery nerves.
By taking these simple measures, you’re ensuring that your enthusiasm for the position shines through and setting yourself up for success.
13. Not Staying Engaged during the interview
Staying fully engaged during an interview is essential to make a good impression on potential employers. Taking initiative, by example actively listening with sounds of acknowledgment, eye contact, and positive facial expressions will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
Doing so also allows for a more productive conversation rather than watching the time tick away due to a lack of focus or attention.
14. Not finding the Right Tone in Communication
Candidates make the interview mistake of under or over-playing their language to varying degrees. An example of this is when applying for a job – you need to get the tone of voice right in order to make the right impression.
For example, if applying at a multinational high-profile accounting firm, refrain from opening with an informal greeting like ‘whatsup dude?’ as this would be unprofessional.
Conversely, if interviewing at a local mart, being overly formal and polite in your language won’t land well either – what the interviewer is looking for is engaging and professional yet casual language.
Nailing down the right tone will help you stand out from other candidates and maximize your chances of landing your dream job.
15. Answering without Due Diligence
While you may not know the answer to every aspect of a job you’re interviewing for, it’s important to resist the urge to make up an example revealing your lack of research. Preparation is key with interviews and one of the best pieces of advice for success is to research common interview questions specific to your desired position and industry.
This will help ensure that when you confidently give your example or answer during the interview, it’s backed by research and knowledge. Having evidence of your expertise in your example just might impress the hiring manager enough to put you at the top of their list.
16. Delving too much into Personal Topics
It is natural to want to connect with the hiring manager on a more personal level, but it is important to know the boundaries of such conversations. For example, when asked about your family or any hobbies you might have, feel free to answer. However, discussing any prescription medications or issues taking place in your personal life is typically off-limits.
Similarly, avoid asking any questions about the interviewer’s private life during your job interview as these topics are better left for a different setting.
17. Appearing Overenthusiastic
This can happen especially if you are trying hard to show your enthusiasm or trying too much to impress the interviewers. You will come across as an idiot or amateur if you do this.
You want to remember that interviewers love genuine candidates the most. Just this simple insight can help you be more honest and natural during the interviews!
18. Being Irrelevant
This happens when knowingly or unknowingly you talk a lot during the interviews. This can make you appear a big value or egoistic.
The smart way to overcome this interview mistake is to keep your focus on what the job entails and what the interviewer may be looking for in a candidate.
Most questions stem from a common interview question, that plays big on the interviewer’s mind – Why should we hire you?
19. Exhibiting Poor Body Language
If you are not prepared, even if you manage to speak the right way with the right words, 93% of your communication is done through your body language and tonality.
You may imagine that you are able hide your vulnerability during the interview, but interviewers are naturally trained to sense it. You body language gives it out.
A simple mantra to remember is – Imitate the body language of any confident and responsible person that you know! Eventually it will make you feel calm and stable.
20. Not Learning from your Interview Mistakes
Most of the candidates who give a lot of interviews but find it hard to crack them, do this mistake.
But it is easy to overcome. We will dig deeper into this in the next section of this article.
21. Not Enquiring about the Next stages of the interview process
You want to be on top of your game when facing interviews. So. you want to ask about the overall interview process and the steps involved in it.
You can do it at 2 different times.
First when the recruiter reaches you. Recruiters generally know what any employer does when hiring a candidate.
Then during the interview rounds, especially at the end of any interview session, you can grab the opportunity to ask this to the interviewers.
22. No further follow up
This is a mistake done by almost all the interview candidates.
This keeps you in a dilemma about preparing yourself for the next round of interviews.
the best way to follow up is with a call or email after a few hours of giving an interview, especially with your recruiters or hiring managers.
23. Too much following up
Especially the desperate or overambitious candidates do this.
You want to realize that it takes time for the interviewers a week or 2 at least to make a decision on any candidate, on average.
So, you want to let them be in their comfort zone and follow their process. Plus, you may want to use multiple channels like calls, emails and even messaging over whatsapp or sms.
Most importantly, you want to be patient and show empathy for the hiring managers.
24. Being too personal with the interviewer
During the interview, you may feel a natural flow in the conversation or comfort with the interviewer. You may take it as a clue that the interview may be going well.
This starts relaxing you during the interview. You may become a bit informal with the interviewer. And, you may be tempted to know more about the interviewer.
Sometimes, you may want to know more about the company and its people. You may unknowingly slide into asking the interviewer about his personal life.
Whatever makes you get into the personal zone of the interviewer, can backfire even without you being aware of it. So, it is an important interview mistake to avoid.
25. Sharing information that is inconsistent with your resume
This is a big red flag for the interviewers. It creates a huge doubt about you and breaks your credibility almost instantly.
So, you want to go over your resume at least once before the interview. You should also ensure that your resume is written with a lot of thought and preparation. You also want to avoid the common mistakes in your resume that can harm your chances before and during the interviews!
Top 6 sections in a resume that matter to the interviewers are – Resume Headline, Resume Summary, About Me section, Achievements in Resume, Strengths in Resume, Interests in Resume, and the project descriptions.
26. Lack of Awareness of your Strengths and Weaknesses
This is a major problem for you because this indicates a lack of self-awareness. It also denies the opportunity to the interviewers to dig deeper about your fitment for the job.
Check these articles to prepare yourself well for this.
27. Making it all about Yourself
Amateurs or those with big egos can indulge in this kind of behavior. A simple question to ask yourself, if you want to come out of this kind of behavior is – Why is the interviewer asking this? What do they want to understand?
How to Avoid Common Interview Mistakes
Overall, you want to quickly avoid making any of these 27 interview mistakes during your next interview. So that you can be well on your way to acing the interview and getting the job you want.
But how do you do it?
7 Steps to Overcome Common Interview Mistakes
- Simply think about what may have gone wrong during an interview. Make a list of points that hit your mind.
- Be courageous to accept those mistakes first. Being in denial is your biggest enemy here!
- Ask for feedback from the interviewers post the interview, especially if you fail to get hired.
- Research deeper on common interview mistakes that you may be doing.
- Arrange mock interviews with experienced professionals that you may know through your network, if possible.
- Record your interviews when possible. This is especially feasible if you are giving telephonic or virtual interviews.
- Hire or Consult an interview coach or a career coach.
Once you have gone through these steps, just remember to relax, be yourself, and focus on showcasing that you’re the best candidate for the job!