Common Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You a Job

The job interview is a delicate kind of “dance” between job seeker and employer. From an employer’s perspective, they’re trying to get a sense not only of your skills and ability to succeed in the role but also of your character and how well you would fit in or add to their company culture. Likewise, as a job candidate, you should be open and forthcoming in how you represent yourself while also finding out as much as you can about the company, the role, and your potential bosses or colleagues so that you too can assess if it’s a good fit.

Here are some of the most common interview mistakes all job seekers – from entry-level to executive, from academic to corporate – should avoid making or else risk being taken out of the running for the position.


Being late

Lateness consistently tops the list of the “most common interview mistakes” job seekers make, yet it’s almost always avoidable with a little bit of planning and forethought. Not only does it signal to a potential employer a lack of organization on your part but lateness also conveys that your time is more valuable than others. Unless you have a water-tight reason for being late (a natural disaster or a medical emergency … and, no, this does not include traffic), most hiring managers will automatically downgrade your candidacy if you’re not prompt.


Coming off as unprepared

Your preparedness for the interview is two-fold: you should be ready to discuss and expand on your own resume, background, and skills, but you should also come prepared with questions or talking points that show you’ve done your homework about the company and the role. If you stumble on either front, you’ll appear unprepared, disengaged, and like you simply didn’t care enough to prep for the interview. Under these circumstances, you’ll have a hard sell trying to convince the hiring manager that you’re interested in the position.

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As much as possible, you should try to remember that you’re speaking to an interviewer not a gist partner. Sometimes, in an attempt to project confidence, an interviewee might become way too chatty, sharing unnecessary details of events he/she has no business talking about in an interview. Be sure to keep your nerves in check and stick to more straight to the point answers. Practicing your approach to interview questions beforehand can go a long way in helping you succeed.


Answering Questions in a Rehearsed Way

At the end of the day, interviewers want to genuinely interact with an interviewee and get some insight into his/her true nature and character. This is difficult to do when the interviewee is almost robotic with responses and mannerisms. Even if you have come across the questions asked before, try as much as possible to be authentic with your answers and to let your personality come through. Smile, loosen up a little and don’t be stiff, regardless of how terribly nervous you might feel.


Being dishonest in any way

Never ever misrepresent yourself or your abilities before, during, or after the job interview. This is among very common interview mistakes that we make unknowingly during interviews and paint a bad picture in front of interviewers. The truth always outs, and when it does, you run the risk not just of losing a job opportunity but also of damaging your professional reputation (one of your most valuable assets) and possibly having this affect future job opportunities.


Not Being Smart With Your Mannerisms

Nobody wants a dull, slow or unresponsive person as an employee, as a result interviewers tends to be put off by interviewees that are not smart and quick-witted with their mannerisms. Try as much as you can to avoid talking slowly when answering or asking questions. Project your voice when you speak, avoid sounding dull and speaking in low tones. Make appropriate eye contact (don’t stare down at the interviewer) and also avoid talking too quickly. Ensure you’re audible when you speak and you’re voice projects as much confidence as you can muster, regardless of how nervous you feel.

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Giving Uninformed Answers to Questions About the Company

If don’t know something about the company, you should refrain for scrambling to come up with just any answer to the question. Ensure you do your research about the company of course, but if there is something you don’t know, be tactful with how you answer the question. You can offer to share the information you do know or are sure of about the company. Or you can apologize for the oversight, and assure the interviewer you will extend your research and learn the answer to the question asap. This might not totally save you, but it’s much better than giving an uninformed answer. However, you should ensure as much as you can that this never happens and you do your research well enough to answer any question about the company.

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