Your job interview might be the single most important part of the job application process and is where many people trip up. Read on to find out what you should be avoiding to breeze through that interview and secure your next job.
1. Arriving late
Arriving late to your interview is going to make a bad first impression before you’ve even had a chance to make a good one. It’s going to set the tone for the rest of the interview, and could even ruin your chances completely. You should be doing everything you can to make sure you’re there in plenty of time.
Don’t just arrive for the time of the interview, try and be there at least 10-20 minutes before your interview starts so that you have to time to deal with any pre-interview requirements, calm yourself down, and do any last minute preparation.
2. Dressing inappropriately
Turning up to your interview in overly-casual clothes immediately sends the wrong impression to your interviewer. It’s as if you’re saying that you don’t really care about getting the position enough to wear proper interview attire.
Try and make sure that you’re in professional clothing, but what that means could depend on where you’re interviewing and the formality of the interview. Make sure you’re clear on what you should be wearing beforehand and make sure to dress your best.
3. Using inappropriate language
Being inappropriate in your interviews is going to ruin your chances, so you should always make sure that you’re treating your interviewer with respect, acting politely, and being as formal as the situation requires. Be sure to take cues from your interviewer too, modifying your behaviour to suit them.
Though it might seem obvious, you should avoid using any overtly inappropriate language like swearing, but also make sure that you’re not overly using slang, and limiting your use of filler words like “um” and “like” to give the best impression you can. Try to think through your answers so you can be sure of what you want to actually get across to your interviewer.
4. Forgetting to do your research
Researching the company or organisation that you’re interviewing for is essential, and helps to show a real interest in the company to your interviewer, on top of giving you more information about what you might be doing and who with.
Interviewers will often ask what you know about the company and being unable to answer will make it seem like you don’t care enough to find out beforehand. Be honest if you don’t know, but do your best to look things up beforehand.
5. Leaving your phone on
Leaving your phone on in an interview is a bad idea because you don’t want any interruptions, especially an interruption that you’re responsible for. Having your phone ringing halfway through is going to come across as unprofessional, as well as potentially ruining the flow of the interview.
6. Having poor body language
Your body language is one of the most visible things about you in the interview, so you should be utilising it to send the right message to your interviewer.
Ensure that you’re sitting up straight, keeping good eye contact, smiling, and not fidgeting. It’s important you don’t focus too much on your body language and you should make sure it seems natural. Try not to have it become something that crosses the border from confident to unnerving (like staring too long while trying to keep good eye contact), in other words try to keep it natural and confident and you should be fine.
7. Answering questions unclearly
Your interviewer is looking for reasons to hire you. Being vague isn’t going to help your case, and is going to make you seem unsure of yourself, or like you’re attempting to hide something. When coming up with an answer, try to stick to the facts and be open if you’re asked any follow up questions. Always ensure you’re telling your interviewer what they want to know as well as getting your point across.
8. Discussing salary or benefits without being prompted
Employers don’t want to discuss your salary until they’re ready, so most will wait until you’ve been selected for the position to bring up compensation if it’s not already set in stone.
Depending on the position, your employer might want to discuss salary in your initial interview, so make sure you do your research on what a reasonable salary looks like beforehand.
It’s important to discuss your salary and other benefits before you start work to ensure you’re getting proper compensation, but asking too early in the interview stage will make it seem as if you’re only interested in the pay. Even if the pay is the sole reason you’re looking at the job, it won’t give a good impression to your potential employer.
If you have any questions about the salary or something similar you should bring them up towards the end, after you’ve already made a good impression on your interviewer.
9. Lying about something
One of the worst things you can do at an interview is lie. It’s always important to be yourself and show off your best qualities. Instead of making something up, try and talk up your greatest achievements and pull from your actual experiences, it’ll be far more impressive to the interviewer if you provide a real experience that’s going to be applicable in your job.
If you don’t have the desired experience don’t say that you do and run into a future problem on the job when your lack of experience is tested, instead make it clear you’re willing to get the experience or training you need to do your best in the job.
10. Not asking questions
Usually in an interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. It’s important that you come pre-prepared with some questions you can ask since showing some curiosity about your potential employer will show off your interest in the job.
If you’re struggling to think of something to ask then refer to the research you’ve done on the position or the company. Is there anything there you’re curious about? It’s also important to ask about progression within the company. This is going to show that you’re committed to staying in the position long-term and is a good sign to the interviewer.
If your questions get answered during the course of the interview don’t worry about it. Try and think if anything came up in the interview itself that you have some questions about and don’t be afraid to ask!
Now that you know what you need to avoid in your interviews, make sure that you’re applying it in the future. If you’re unsure about anything then go back over what you’re struggling with and remember to go over our advice again closer to the interview if you feel you need a reminder.
If you’ve already been invited for an interview then good luck! Still searching for a job? Don’t forget to take a look at our jobs board and find your next dream job! Can’t fid a job because you’re not qualified? Take a look at our online courses and see if there’s something to suit you!