Top Five Interview Mistakes

September 6, 2019 | Recruitment

As anybody who has been job searching for a while knows, being invited to a job interview is not something easily achieved. Becoming one of the few “job candidates” rather than being part of the usually gigantic crowd of “job applicants” is a major victory. Unfortunately, too many job candidates blow their interview opportunities, wasting all that time and effort.

Don’t be one of those candidates. Never assume that the job offer is “in the bag” simply because you were invited for an interview. However experienced you are it’s easy to slip up when you’re nervous, but if you plan ahead you can avoid making these common interview mistakes:

1) Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – Being unprepared for your interview:

In the apt words of Benjamin Franklin ‘If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and this is one of the most important aspects of your interview – you must show up prepared. Preparation for an interview is crucial to arriving with confidence and being in the right mindset to answer the questions your interviewer will ask.

You should do your research into:Research

  • The company cultures
  • The role you have applied for
  • The company’s backgrounds
  • Competitors

If you choose not to prepare yourself sufficiently you are posing the risk of looking disinterested or lazy.

Another key factor in being prepared is ensuring your logistics are on top form. How are you going to get there? How much time do you need to make your journey? Do you need to book the afternoon off work? There are no excuses for showing up late to an interview and the company will not take kindly to your lack of enthusiasm if you do so, as it is a clear indication that your time keeping and reliability is non-existent.

2) First impressions count – Dressing inappropriately:

Statistics suggest it takes the average person only seven seconds to form their first impressions of you as a person which means they have already made up their mind before you have even opened your mouth.

This is why presenting yourself appropriately is key when interviewing for a job you really want.

Knowing the type of company you have applied to should give you a clue as to the dress code expected. For example, in legal or business firms dress is usually more formal, while in creative companies or IT the dress code is more relaxed. However, if in doubt always err on the side of caution. It’s better to go too formal than not formal enough.

Clothes need to be ironed, your hair should be neat, your personal hygiene should be spot on and you should be well-groomed to accompany your smart attire.

3) Not asking questions – Or asking the wrong questions:

To an employer, no questions indicates that you have little or no interest in the position.

However, asking the wrong questions can also have a detrimental impact on your job search. During the first interview, asking questions specifically about raises, promotions, holiday entitlements and benefits are not usually well-received. Those questions may arouse suspicions that you are only interested in specific personal benefits rather than the job.

Overcome this by asking the questions that occurred to you as you were doing your pre-interview research, as you talked with the people during the interview, or as you observed people in the location.

Ask for details about the job -what an average day is like, if the job is new or being filled because the previous employee was promoted or what the company culture is like.

4) Blabber mouth – Criticizing previous employers or colleagues:


This may be the worst mistake you could make. Complaining about colleagues, drawing attention to the negative aspects of your previous or current job or moaning about your superiors are all likely to blow your chances of success. This gives employers the wrong impression of you and makes them question what you’d say about them in similar circumstances.

No matter the reason for you leaving your previous or current employment, always be diplomatic. You don’t want potential employers to think of you as disloyal or negative. Instead of highlighting the mistakes of others, emphasise the positive steps you took in order to overcome them. This shows how proactive you can be.

5) Not collecting contact information or asking the next-steps questions

Many job seekers leave the interview(s) with no idea of what will happen next in the hiring process. They also often don’t know who is the best person to contact as well as when and how to contact that person.

As the interview ends, ask what the next steps in their hiring process are if nobody has given that information. Find out who your post-interview contact is and when and how to contact that person. Note the email address and/or phone number carefully, particularly if you don’t have that person’s business card.


So now you’re fully briefed on what not to do at an interview you can be at ease and snap up your dream role.

Need some inspo? Take a look at our new job listings here.


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