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Interview mistakes you should stop making

Career Tips
 Common interview mistakes you should avoid (Photo: Courtesy)

There are numerous things that can go wrong in a job interview. While most interview panelists may overlook some of them, there are a couple of mishaps that could cost you the job.

Here are the most common mistakes that can be instant disqualifiers:

Arriving late

Arriving to your interview late is not the best way to make a first impression. Its shows lack of self-management and disrespect to the interviewer’s time. Your interview may be cut short or you will be in the interview with grumpy panelists.

Plan to arrive a few minutes early to provide some cushion time for traffic or any other unforeseen event that may happen on your way over to the interview.

Should your lateness result from an unavoidable misfortune, demonstrate professionalism by getting in touch with your interviewer and giving your compelling reasons for lateness.


This is a huge no-no! Some job seekers think that they can simply get away with keeping up a lie from the resume all through the interview. Most employers conduct background checks. When you get caught, there is a high possibility that you will not be considered for the job. Avoid lies all together.

Bad-mouthing previous employers

Through their networks, your interviewer might know the exact people you say negative things about. Never talk negatively about your previous employer or colleagues no matter how much you think they deserve it.

Trash-talking will only make you look petty and incompetent. Be professional about your reasons for leaving your previous job. Put them in a way that connects to your personal and career development.

 Employers would want to recruit into their team a person who demonstrates maturity in conflict resolution. Be careful not to fall into the badmouthing trap when answering difficult questions.

 Always do your research before going for an interview of any kind (Photo: Courtesy)
Lacking attention

If you cannot stay alert or pay attention during an interview, how can your hiring manager expect you to focus on your day job? Companies receive numerous job applications and only a few are shortlisted for interviews.

You need to show your potential employer that you are worth the time. Get enough rest before the interview and make sure that you do not allow room for distractions. Maintain eye contact and listen attentively.

Mistaking an interview for an interrogation

Most interview candidates end up making the session a one-sided conversation; where one person asks all the questions and the other responds. It is unwise not to ask questions when the opportunity is given.

The employer knows that you are vetting them too and asking questions reveals your true interests in the job and the institution. It demonstrates your professionalism and ambition and communicates that you are a serious candidate.

Lacking research

If you haven’t done any digging into the company’s services, culture or products, it reflects disinterest in the job and it will be more evident during the interview.

It does not mean that you have to advanced knowledge of everything the company has ever done but having enough information to be able to ask relevant questions. It speaks to your professionalism and shows how you might add value to the company.

In addition, as much as you will do research about the company, do research about yourself by taking inventory about your skills, experience and knowledge.

You have to be prepared to discuss any part of your background. Get your facts right. Keep your memory refreshed to avoid appearing fuzzy about your own employment history.

Inappropriate dress code

Looking put together exhibits that you want to put your best foot forward. Do research about the company’s culture of dress code through their website, career page or social media handles and be keen to dress the part. Demonstrate that you mean business by ensuring that you look presentable and professional.

Waiting for them to call back

Do some follow up after the interview even when you are afraid you didn’t make a good first impression. Send a thank you card or email to all the interview panelists.

It promotes your candidacy by reiterating your interest in the job. If possible, collect their business cards so that you can have their contact information at hand. Be careful to note the correct spelling of the interviewers’ names when writing the thank you email.

Take time to prepare so that you do not get stressed up about these errors after the interview.

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