Things to avoid at an interview
Give yourself the best chance of making it through the final hurdle and into the role you want by avoiding these common mistakes at interview.
- Do not be under-prepared. Even if you have the skills needed for the role you may not get the job if you lack basic knowledge about the company, for example.
- Look at the company’s website, including the About Us section, to gain an understanding of the firm’s mission statement and how the business operates. You should also aim to have some knowledge about the competition and other important players in the field.
- Do not turn up late. If there is a genuine emergency, ensure that you ring to explain and rearrange if necessary.
- Do not dress inappropriately. Make the right first impression by leaving your smart casual wear at home and wearing a suit.
- Do not lie. Whether on your CV or in the interview, the truth is likely to come out in the end, and your lies or exaggerations can seriously harm your business reputation.
- Think about body language. Don’t ruin your chances with a floppy handshake, a frown, poor posture or a lack of eye contact. These small details can make a huge difference at interview.
- Do not ramble. In a stressful situation it can be tempting to waffle on without really thinking about content or direction. Take time to think and take a deep breath before answering every question.
- Do not fidget. Maintain your composure and do not play with your mobile phone or chew gum if you want to be taken seriously. Don’t slouch and keep your feet planted on the ground.
- Do not badmouth your current employer. It will look unprofessional and a future employer will not want to take you on if they think you will start talking about them in the same fashion at some future date.
- Do not shy away from asking questions. You may otherwise seem disinterested or it may suggest that you have not spent enough time thinking about your interview, the role and the company you say you want to work for.
- Keep it from being too personal. Avoid being overly-familiar with interviewers, never be tempted to flirt and don’t waste time talking about irrelevant personal details.
- Do not forget basic manners. Sit down only when invited and never use bad language, even if the interviewer does.
- Do not talk money. Wait until you have received an offer before discussing details such as your salary, holiday entitlement and working hours.
- Do not cut your interview short. No matter how busy you are, don’t make your interviewers think that you have somewhere more important to be. Always ensure that you have scheduled plenty of the time in the day for your interview, accounting for the possibility that it could run over.
- Do not mumble. Speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard comfortably. If your interviewer has to ask you to repeat an answer, think about why this was necessary.
- Do not forget the follow-up. Even if you fear your interview was not a success, send a courtesy email emphasising your interest in the company. You may be surprised by the outcome.