Classic Mistakes At Interview

The Top “Don't Do"s For Interviewees

There are countless articles on how best to present yourself at interview, but it’s usually the mistakes that can make the difference between getting the job or missing out. Being invited for interview often means the employer thinks that, on paper at least, you can do the job, so to help you avoid ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’, here are just a few classic “DON’T Do”s. They range from the minor mishap, to the idiotic, but (believe it or not!) they are all based on interview feedback from our clients.

Don’t appear unprepared

Anticipate and prepare for the main opening questions: Why are you looking?;What are you looking for?; Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?; Why are you interested in the job? That way the conversation will flow and you’ll get a lot more out of the meeting.

Don’t ‘slag off’ your former boss or company

Being negative doesn’t make you look good – remember, people like positive people! Negative comments could also make you appear unprofessional.

Be smartly dressed – play it safe

Unless you have been briefed otherwise by your recruitment consultant, play it safe and keep it smart. No jeans, polish your shoes and wear a clean shirt or blouse.

Don’t ask too soon about salary.

You’ll appear ‘mercenary’ and it will give the impression that you have little interest in the employer. Remember to sell yourself first, get them to like you, then ask about salary and benefits later. Even better, avoid asking until the second interview and let your recruitment consultant do the negotiations for you.

Address everyone in room

If there are two or more people interviewing you, greet everyone with a smile and a handshake. Don’t just talk to one person even if they are the only one asking the questions - give good eye contact all-round.

Turn your phone off

You’d think this would be obvious, but it’s a common oversight. A phone ringing in the interview will distract and it can look inconsiderate. But if it does happen, don’t take the call!

Don’t talk too much and listen to the questions

Know when to stop talking and don’t interrupt the interviewer or finish the end of his/her sentence. Remember to stick to the points discussed and keep your answers relevant.

Don’t chew gum in the interview

Unbelievable, but it has happened and it will make you look unprofessional (even stupid).

Don’t swear or use slang

‘Street-wise’ just isn’t wise in an interview.

If you smoke, don't have a cigarette just before the interview

Another obvious one, but smokers sometimes forget how much the smell of tobacco lingers on their breath, which will also be the interviewer’s lingering impression of you!

Don’t be late, but also don’t be too early

The former is obvious, but being more than 10-15 minutes early is also a ‘No-No’ and can be inconvenient for the interviewer.

If you are delayed (and sometimes it cannot be avoided) let the interviewer know in advance, not after the appointed time. Remember to offer an apology to the interviewer on arrival.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations or over-play your hand

Make sure what you are looking for in a job is in line with the job for which you are being interviewed. Your recruitment consultant should have briefed you on the main aspects of the job, salary and prospects, so don’t go in asking for the earth as it won’t impress.

Don’t 'play it cool'

Appearing uninterested is a guaranteed way not to get a job. If the job does not turn out to be as interesting as hoped, being upbeat will still leave the interviewer feeling positive about you and could lead to your being considered for other vacancies in their business. At the end of the interview, if you are interested, DO remember say so!

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