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It’s understandable if you’re stressed before a job interview, especially if you’ve been overlooked before and are struggling to pay the bills with no money coming in – we’ve all been there at some point!

Fortunately, if you prepare well in advance and learn what not to do, you’ll have an advantage over other candidates.

Let’s take a closer look at 10 job interview mistakes that can kill your chances and what to do about them … 

1. Not Looking the Part

While the advice to wear a suit to job interviews can be a little cliché these days, dressing smart still fits the majority of situations and it’s better to dress up than to dress down. Just don’t dress to distract.

Whatever you decide, make sure you look the part for the job at hand. You may even be informed ahead of time how to present yourself (i.e. ‘business casual,’) so don’t ignore the advice!

Dressing well is about creating a positive image of yourself for the interview, but it also demonstrates that you can present the same image when representing the company or business when in the potential role.

Turning up looking scruffy, mismatched, or with clothes you’d lounge around your home in, is a clear sign that you don’t care about the job. At the least, it’s a bad first impression you’ll have a hard time recovering from during the interview.

2. Poor Time Management

You shouldn’t arrive at a job interview late. It shows a lack of respect and suggests that you might be late to the job itself as well. However good time management isn’t just about not arriving late – you can also arrive too early!

This has the potential of interrupting or annoying the interviewer if they spot you, their secretary lets them know of your arrival, or worse you burst in somewhere before they‘re ready for you.

Aim to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the time you’re given. This allows you the chance to find exactly where you need to be in the building, have a sip of water, and be there when you’re called in.  

3. Checking Your Phone

Checking our phones is becoming second nature to many of us, but whatever you do don’t instinctively reach for your device in your pocket or bag if there’s a lull during the interview. This shows disrespect and disinterest and is all-around unprofessional behavior.

There may be an instance where showing the interviewer something relevant to the conversation on your phone might be appropriate, but this should only be to add value not as a crutch because you’ve forgotten something about your resume, the company, or the point you wanted to make.

 In most cases, you should turn your phone on silent or off and have it out of reach. Do you even need to bring it in at all?

4. Not Knowing the Company or Role 

No interviewer is going to expect you to know everything about a company’s history, but since you have expressed an interest in working there you should be able to explain why, concerning what you know and like about it.

You also need to know about the position you’re being interviewed for; after all, you’ve got to demonstrate what you bring to the role and why you’re the best of the bunch. You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re applying for.

Lack of preparation is a common job interview mistake. Do your research and then you can be confident no matter what they ask you.


5. Overstating Your Superficial Knowledge of the Company

For every person who doesn’t know anything about the company is somebody who has learned the company website’s about page verbatim. Interviewers can spot insincerity, so don’t overdo it or try to ‘suck up’ by discovering the interviewer or boss likes vintage wines and pretending you do too.

6. Talking and Not Listening 

Nobody likes a self-important rambler. Yes, sell yourself, but don’t try to lead the conversation or get everything out in one monologue. Most jobs are about teamwork and this only demonstrates selfishness.

The key thing to understand is that an interview is a back-and-forth process. This means you must listen and respond accordingly. If you respond with something completely irrelevant to the question, you could give the impression that you won’t listen on the job or are bad at following instructions.

If you don’t have a direct answer, resist the urge to randomly change the subject. Acknowledging the situation and then offering a somewhat relevant anecdote is a much better approach to avoid job interview mistakes. 

7. Lack of Enthusiasm or Energy 

We all have days of tiredness and brain fog, where all we want to do is go back to bed. You can’t let this seep through during a job interview however, as this is the first and possibly only chance you’ll get to make a good impression.

The interviewer doesn’t know that you’re usually full of energy and have an unrivaled work ethic. They see what they see on the day.

So, act high energy, don’t slouch, be interested in what they have to say, and show enthusiasm for the position. If it doesn’t affect your nerves, have a strong coffee beforehand to keep you alert.

8. Not Asking the Right Questions

Showing enthusiasm for the role also means asking questions. Of course, all job interview 101s tell you to ask questions, but don’t just ask random questions – make sure they are relevant to the things you’ve just discussed, the position you’re applying for and you genuinely want to know the answers.

You might think that having nothing to ask demonstrates that you’ve taken everything in and are ready for the job, but more often it reflects disinterest, lack of enthusiasm and lack of confidence.

On the flip side, don’t ask silly questions, things already covered or things you already know the answer to, just because you think you should be asking something.

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9. Not Knowing Your Resume 

If you include something in your resume you better make sure it’s true and you can expand on it in a discussion. Failing to do so will make you seem unprepared and at worst, deceptive.

If it’s been several years remember to go over old facts, skills, and employment details before the interview.

There’s also nothing wrong with being selective in your resume. Include your best jobs, skills, and achievements; then you’ll never struggle with answering questions.

10. Not Following Up

Failing to follow up after an interview probably won’t lose you the job if you did particularly well, but it will underscore your interest and enthusiasm, and that you’re polite and professional.

A good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours and then send a short email thanking the interviewer for the opportunity and restating your desire for the role.

At the very least this means you won’t get lost in the shuffle.

If you take note of the above job interview mistakes and how to avoid them, we’re sure your job interview will go well and you’ll be back in employment in no time. If you found the information valuable, feel free to give it a share!

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