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Avoid These 7 Interview Mistakes In Your Next Interview

  • February 2, 2023

Interviews can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. If you’re applying for an amazing new job opportunity in  your sector, the pressure to present yourself as a reputable, trustworthy, skilled and reliable individual can quickly get on top of you, no matter how confident you usually feel.

While most interviewers expect to see a few signs of nerves in candidates, making certain mistakes during this crucial conversation could mean you miss out on a fantastic role.

Whether you’re meeting with an employer through a video conference or participating in a face-to-face interview, it is key to be prepared.

So here are some of the most common interview mistakes you should always avoid.

1.  Not Being Prepared

Perhaps the biggest cardinal sin any  candidate can commit is failing to prepare fully for the interview. It should always be your number one priority, before going into any interview, to research the company thoroughly. Take a closer look at the job description and ensure you know exactly what your employer is looking for, so you can prepare answers to interview questions that showcase the right competencies and characteristics. Examining the job description carefully will also help you determine whether the role is right for you.

Study the company’s website to get a feel for its culture, vision, and values, and try to incorporate these factors into your answers too. Check the company’s social media channels, and ask your recruitment agency for advice. The support and guidance that they offer during these times can be invaluable.

2.  Dressing Inappropriately

Times have changed, although not that much that dressing appropriately for an interview no longer matters. Most interviewers won’t give you a specific dress code to follow before you turn up for the conversation, so it’s up to you to use your common sense. If you’re unsure whether the company is generally a bit more “laid back” about dress codes, dress professionally.

You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit for every interview, but you should focus on letting the level of professionalism you want to bring to the interview show through your dress code. This applies not just to face-to-face interviews but video interviews too. Hiring managers still expect to see professionally-presented candidates when they’re interacting over video.

Dressing properly will show your interviewer that you’re taking t the interview seriously.

3.  Talking About the Wrong Things

For hiring managers, an interview is a chance to get to know candidates better, evaluate their competency for the role, and determine whether they will fit the company’s existing culture well. The things you discuss in your interview should highlight why you’re a good fit for the position and business.

With this in mind, make sure you don’t start talking about the wrong things. Don’t immediately jump into a discussion about salary (you can ask about this later), and try not to get too caught up in small talk at the beginning of the interview, either.

Most importantly, never criticise former employers or colleagues. Talking negatively about a previous place of employment will make you look petty.

If you’re asked questions like “Tell me about a time that you didn’t work well with your manager”, don’t try to pin the issue entirely on them. Focus on the communication issues or other problems which contributed to the situation.

4.  Not Being Punctual

A well-known quote says, ‘the way you do anything is the way you do everything.’

Therefore, an interview is the first opportunity to demonstrate how you ‘do’ things and what kind of employee you will be to your potential employer. Arriving late is never a good sign, as it shows you’re not well-organised, punctual, or good at time management – even if you have a valid excuse.

Ensure you’re going to arrive on time or early for your interview by planning your route and setting off early if you’re concerned you will be affected by traffic. If you’re taking part in a pre-screening interview over video or your interview is a video conference, make sure you check all of your software and hardware is working in advance.

When the interview begins, don’t rush off to grab your CV and other resources before you can start talking. Show you’re well-prepared by having everything you need in front of you. If you can’t avoid being late, call your hiring manager to let them know what’s happening as soon as you’re aware you’re not going to arrive on time.

5.  Poor Body Language

Around 55% of communication is non-verbal. It’s not just what you say that your hiring manager will be paying attention to in an interview, but how you present yourself too. Slouching in your seat, constantly checking the time, or fidgeting all show your potential employer you’re distracted or uninterested in the role.

Before an interview, take a few deep breaths to focus. Concentrate on regularly making eye contact with the people you’re talking to, sitting straight, and maintaining confidence. Keep your hands in front of you on the table or in your lap, and never check your phone during a meeting.

If you’re worried about what your body language might be saying about you, it could be helpful to practice some “interview scenarios” with friends before you go for the actual meeting.

6.  Not Listening Properly

Employers want their staff to be passionate, engaged, and attentive. With this in mind, you should always show your hiring manager that you’re listening carefully to every word they say. If you feel your attention slipping during a particularly long interview, make an extra effort to stay engaged. Lean forward slightly, make eye contact, and focus.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve understood a question correctly, ask your hiring manager about it. It’s okay to double-check that you know what they’re looking for when they query something. Just try not to ask your hiring manager to repeat themselves constantly.

A good way to show you’re actively listening is to rework the question into your answer. For instance, if someone asks you to “tell them about a situation where you acted as a leader”, you could say, “I think I showed my leadership qualities best during…”

7.  Failing to Ask Questions

Preparing for an interview doesn’t, of course, bring an end to learning about the company in question. There is also another element of an interview that is essential in not only demonstrating your enthusiasm and interest for the role and company but actually ensuring you are sense-checking job suitability against your own objectives while you’re in the room.

All interviews, whether they are conducted over the phone, over video/virtually, or face to face, will present the opportunity for  you as the candidate to ask questions.

Pass up this opportunity at your peril.


In Conclusion:

Interviews can be an anxiety-provoking experience, even for the most confident people. Not only must you show your best side to your potential employer, but you also have to find a way to stand out from the competition, and the pressure of presenting yourself correctly can quickly get on top of you.

But by avoiding these common pitfalls and getting your preparation right, you can significantly increase your chances of making a positive impression on the hiring manager and landing that role.

At Clayton Recruitment, our sector specialists help to prepare candidates for interview as standard as part of the service we offer. We already have valued working relationships with the many businesses we work with across the northwest and, as such, can help to get a head start on some of the topics raised here around culture, structure, and remuneration.

If you are considering a move at the moment, our team can help to understand current opportunities in your region and sector specialism, as well as general market conditions and the competitive landscape.

Get in touch today for a confidential, impartial chat and we’ll help you take that all-important first step in the next stage of your career.


About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis.

Click here to speak to one of our experienced specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

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The top five interview mistakes

  • November 13, 2017

You’ve applied for a series of new jobs, and finally secured the all-important interview for your dream role. While it may seem like you are just steps away from hearing the words ‘you’re hired’, the hard work starts now. You need to be fully prepared for the interview to ensure you have every chance of success. Often candidates will have worked really hard on job applications but let themselves down at the interview stage by either not preparing adequately or presenting a bad image. So what are the top five interview mistakes you need to avoid?

Not doing your homework

With the internet at your fingertips, there is absolutely no excuse for not doing your homework before an interview. Despite this, however, clients often tell us that a candidate didn’t get the job because they didn’t know even the basics about the company and role they applied for despite having all the skills required. Take the time to thoroughly research the business – look at the website for information about the history, values, and culture. Seek out information on social media to glean an insight into the type of work and activity the business does. It’s also worth researching the person who will be interviewing you – you will be able to source information about their role and length of time at the business which will help you establish a rapport at the outset.

Too much talking, not enough listening


Another big mistake candidates make – often due to nerves – is talking too much and not listening to the questions being asked. Take the time to really take in each question and, if you are unsure of how to answer, ask the interviewer to repeat it. This will buy you some time and enable you to prepare an answer better. Candidates often go wrong by responding too quickly and going off on a tangent which means they haven’t given the interviewer the information they are seeking. Often this happens due to a combination of nerves and a failure to prepare. If you have researched properly you will not only be less nervous, but you will likely be able to answer the questions asked.

No questions


Another big no no is not asking any questions yourself. Almost every interviewer will factor in time at the end of the meeting for the candidate to ask anything about the role and company. Don’t make the mistake of not preparing questions in advance. Think about what queries will demonstrate that you are serious about the job and your progression within the company. Could you ask about the training and development opportunities or about the team you will be working with, for example? Don’t, however, make the mistake of asking about when your first pay rise will be or how many sick days you are entitled to!

Moaning about your current employer


Most interviewers will ask you about your previous role and employer. And regardless of why you left the company never make the mistake of criticising the people or business you worked for. No prospective employer wants to hear a potential staff member bad mouthing people they have worked with before – not only will it cause concern that you might do the same at their business, but it will also almost certainly move your application to the no pile!

Wrong attire


Even if you know that, if you secure the role, you won’t be expected to be suited and booted every day, don’t turn up to the interview in jeans and a t-shirt. Don’t however, go to the other extreme and turn up looking like you are about to go on a night out!

The interview is often the last stage of a lengthy application process. Don’t ruin your chances of securing the role you deserve by making the mistakes listed above. Preparation is key and remember, if you have been invited in for interview, it is because you have already demonstrated your suitability for the role. Good luck!

For more advice from the team, check out our other posts here.

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