Avoid these common interview mistakes
The job interview is generally an employer’s first impression of you. Careful planning and preparation can help better your chances of making a positive and memorable impression and land the job.
We’re only human, and sometimes we make mistakes. However, the mistakes candidates often make at job interviews can make them appear unprofessional and incompetent – a sure way to get cut after the first round of interviews.
In this article, we’ll explore common interview mistakes and how to avoid them.
Running late to a job interview
From an interviewer’s perspective, if you’re late to the interview, you’ll frequently be late to work.
Time is money, so it’s crucial you show up on time.
Recruiters are very busy trying to fit in all their interviews. It’s important you respect their time just as much as they have when making the accommodations to schedule your interview.
How to avoid being late for your interview
Plan your commute ahead of time. Account for possible traffic and determine your exact route for getting there.
On the day of your interview, avoid making plans to focus all your attention on the interview.
If you know you will be late, please call ahead to let the hiring manager know. Once you arrive at your interview, apologize and move on with the interview.
Things come up, and we can’t help it. If you have a legitimate excuse, any reasonable person will understand. After the interview, you can re-apologize in your follow-up and express gratitude for their time.
Another major interview mistake is looking dishevelled and dressing inappropriately.
If you show up unshowered or in sweatpants, it’s safe to assume you won’t be landing the job. Taking care of yourself and dressing professionally will help you and hiring managers to take you seriously as a candidate.
How to avoid dressing inappropriately for an interview
Dress for the job you want. As cliché as it sounds, it doesn’t make it less true.
Your clothing can be more or less formal, depending on the company and position. Plan your outfit so you aren’t scrambling around last-minute searching for clothes.
Wake up early enough to give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Getting enough sleep the night before and showering will help you look awake and put together.
Badmouthing past employers
You might not have liked your previous boss. They might have even been an absolutely horrible boss. However, badmouthing past employers is a big no-no.
Speaking negatively about your past job, you can give interviewers the impression that you’re unprofessional and difficult to work with and that maybe you were the problem, not your employer.
How to avoid giving negative feedback to your past employers
It’s not unusual to be asked about previous employers or why you’re leaving your current job, but remember you don’t have to offer too many details.
Even if you still harbour negative feelings, stay professional and take a neutral approach to your response. While your past job might have been a poor experience, try focusing on the positives and what you gained from it.
Going into your interview unprepared
The hiring manager will most likely give you a quick run-down of the position and company, but there is an expectation that you have done your research. Studying the company and what they’re about shows your interest and seriousness in the position.
How to avoid lack of interview preparation
Do your homework.
Check out the company’s website and read up on its mission and values. Social media can also give great insight into any achievements or projects the company has led.
Research the industry to understand their competitors and current market trends and news.
You can expect to answer questions about your interest in the position/company and your professional accomplishments. Come up with relevant stories from past experiences that can show off any abilities or skills that make you a desirable candidate.
Not having any questions
When the interview is coming to a close, you can always expect the interviewer to ask if you have any questions for them.
Whatever you don’t say “no.”
If you’re seriously considering the job, there has to be something you want to know more about. Asking questions shows hiring managers your interest and enthusiasm and also gives you a chance to get more information about the job.
How to avoid:
Remember, interviews are a two-way street. You are assessing if this is the right job for you just as much as the interviewer is.
Prepare your questions beforehand, so you don’t have to think on the fly.
To get you started, we’ve prepared a list of questions to ask your hiring manager that cover topics like:
- The position
- Work culture and environment
- Development opportunities
- The team you would be working with
Forgetting to follow-up
The interview might be over, but you still have one thing left to do. If you want to get noticed, follow up!
Send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration. If you really want to make a memorable impression refer to a specific conversation during the interview or mention something you admire about the company.
How to avoid forgetting sending a follow up email
Wait a few hours after the interview to send a thank you email, and don’t wait more than 24 hours to follow up.
Once you’ve scheduled your interview, set a reminder on your phone or calendar to send a follow-up to avoid forgetting.
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