Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Land the Next Job

Take the guess work out of your next interview and go in swinging. Well, not actually swinging, that would be scary and a sure way to NOT get the job. Unless you were applying to be a bouncer or bodyguard and it was a skills demonstration interview. There is a pretty small marketing for that–as for the rest of us, the following rules ALWAYS apply in any interview situation.

Avoid These Interview Mistakes

Don’t do them. Not even once. Don’t chance it.

Arriving LateArive on time for you interview

This should go without saying, but it happens more often that you’d think. Sure, life happens, tires blow, buses are late and tragedy strikes. However, we aren’t talking about acts of God here. Simple time management and being prepared (and having a back up plan) is essential to arriving on time. You need to anticipate what might happen to avoid being late.

Start by being honest with yourself:

  1. Do I know EXACTLY where I am going and how long it takes to get there?
  2. Do I have an alternative route planned in case of traffic, etc?
  3. Do I need A LOT of time to get ready?
  4. Am I generally late for appointments or social engagements?

Five minutes late might not seem like a big deal to you, especially if you normally operate that way. Trust me, it’s a BIG DEAL to arrive at an interview late. It will be noticed and it will count against you.

Two additional things to keep in mind:

  1. Arriving way too early is also annoying. If you feel the need to arrive more than 15 minutes early, wait in your car, get a coffee, or do something close by.
  2. If your tardiness absolutely can’t be avoided, communicate as soon as you can with the interviewer and be polite and apologetic. Ask him or her for a reschedule date and time as soon as possible.

A Poorly Written Resume or CVHave your resume reviewed by a professional

Have you updated your resume lately? Are you conveying your skills and highlighting your experience in the best possible way? While you are an expert in your field (or becoming one) chances are you are NOT an expert at writing resumes. It is surprising how many serious job seekers have never received professional help with their resumes. This is important at every stage of your career, but it becomes increasingly challenging as your career advances and you gain invaluable skills sets and knowledge. In advanced positions where the competition is tough and there are less qualified candidates for those corner office jobs, your resume needs to open doors. Do you have the right key?

Click here for a Free Resume Critique

Being UnderdressedDon't be underdressed for an interview

Bring your A Game to the interview table. It is always best to err on the side of caution and risk being over dressed rather than underdressed. Dressing up (business appropriate–not a ball room party) shows the potential employer that you are serious and professional. It conveys that you take the time to do things right–including getting dressed.

Your Phone Making ANY Noise at AllDon't look at your phone in an interview

None. Zero. Turn it off before the interview or leave in the car. I get it, we are all tied to our phones, but an interview is important enough to put the phone away for. If you have regular alerts or little pings that go off when you get an email, or even that sound we all know when your email updates–avoid them. Also worth noting, your phone should be put away so that you are not tempted to look at it even if there is no sound coming out of it. We are all so programmed to look at our phone hundreds of times a day–you might not even realize you do it. DON’T. Avoid the temptation by putting it away. Same goes for your watch.

Being Too RelaxedAppear to be eager in an interview

It is great to be confident. It is amazing to be prepared. You’ve got this! You are ready. However, being too relaxed can be perceived as being aloof or disinterested–which is not the message you want to be sending. Here are some body language tips that will convey you are motivated and ready to work:

  • Sit up straight
  • Lean slightly forward
  • Don’t cross your legs
  • Make eye contact
  • Don’t put your feet up on the employer’s desk!

Trashing your Previous Employers

No matter what the circumstances are (or were) for leaving past jobs, NEVER speak poorly of them or disrespect them in an interview. By doing so you make the interviewer think that you’ll do the same after you join their company. Don't talk bad about previous employers

Find a way to explain why you are seeking employment elsewhere that doesn’t reflect negatively on your past achievements. Your professionalism and integrity will take center stage when you show that you are able to leave past employment on good terms to seek experiences elsewhere.

A good rule of thumb is: If you wouldn’t say it to your previous employee’s face, don’t say it to someone else, especially in an interview.

More Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Do you have any additional tips and advice on things to avoid in an interview? What about tips on things you SHOULD do in an interview? We want to hear your ideas. Good luck and let us know how we can help with your job search.

Join Our Discussion

For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives.

Leave a Comment