Going to an interview can be a nervous experience, but it can also be exciting to know that there is a chance that your efforts will be rewarded with a new job. When it comes to how to succeed in an interview, there is a wealth of interview advice available at your disposal on the internet. While you may feel you know how to ace an interview, you may not be familiar with the common pitfalls you should avoid at all costs.
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In this article we will look at some common interview mistakes that you should avoid at your next interview.
Not taking on board interview tips for a good first impression - When it comes to preparing for an interview there are some basic tips that you should make sure you take on board. Arrive a few minutes early if possible (make sure you are not late!). It can help to plan in advance how you will get to the interview location to ensure that you make it in good time. Bring a copy of your CV and make sure that your phone is turned off or switched to flight mode. Avoid chewing gum or sipping from a coffee cup when you arrive as this could be construed as unprofessional. Make sure you read our top interview tips here to ensure you make the best possible first impression.
Not researching how to prepare for an interview - While preparing for your interview, make sure that you know what format the interview will take. If you know that the interview is a group interview you should specifically look up group interview tips. Similarly, if you know that the interview will be competency-based you should look up how to answer competency-based questions. The best interview answers are ones that are prepared well in advance as it is only when you practise interview answers in advance that they will trip the tongue in the actual interview. Seek the help of your friends and family and have them ask you mock interview questions to help you prepare.
Not researching the company beforehand - One of the most egregious interview errors you can make is failing to thoroughly research the company you have applied to work with before attending the interview. If you know nothing about the company this will be painfully obvious to the interviewer, and your chances of getting the job will be slim, to say the least! Therefore, it is wise to make sure that you learn all you can about the company in advance of your interview.
Not knowing what to wear at an interview - While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to what to wear at an interview, it is generally better to err on the side of caution. That being said, there may be times when corporate attire is too formal (for example, when applying to a start-up company or arts venue). Make sure you find out all you can about the company’s culture before deciding what to wear to your interview as this is, ultimately, the best way to make the right impression.
Not appearing confident - We get it- interviews can be incredibly awkward and it is unlikely that you will ever feel fully at ease while being interviewed. However, confidence is something that you can practise. When you appear calm and collected your interviewer will be able to focus on your answers rather than being distracted by your nervous demeanour. Try standing tall, smiling, and offering a strong handshake and you will immediately appear more confident in your interview. Avoid nervously fidgeting at all costs!
Not delivering focused answers - Interviews can be incredibly nerve-wracking and it can be difficult to deliver focused, concise answers under pressure. Where possible, keep your answers short and illustrate your points with concrete examples of your skills and abilities. This will be far more impressive to the interviewer than rambling answers that don’t adequately answer their questions.
Not maintaining professionalism– There are all sorts of reasons why you might be looking to leave your current role. However, it’s important to maintain a sense of professionalism at all times in the interview. Even if you feel hard done by, make sure that you avoid badmouthing your current employer. If you are asked why you want to leave your current role you can simply express that you are looking to develop your career in a new organisation. This is perfectly valid and will help to keep the tone positive and professional.
Not having questions to ask at an interview - While you may feel that the interviewer has told you all you need to know by the end of the interview, it is definitely advisable to have a few questions prepared that you can ask. Not having questions to ask at the end of the interview can indicate complacency or a lack of engagement, so it’s best to have a question or two up your sleeve. Good questions to ask in an interview are questions about the company’s culture and values, the potential for training opportunities, and what typical day at the company looks like. Try and avoid asking questions that you should already have the answer to!
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