How to avoid the 5 most common Interview Mistakes

To help you turn that dream job application into an offer – make sure you avoid these interview pitfalls if you really want to get ahead. No excuses now... 

1. Lack of preparation

Sadly, failing to prepare, really is a case of preparing to fail. Going into an interview feeling nervous and not knowing about the company or the role you’ve applied for, will make you feel under-confident and like you’re skating on very very thin ice.

Having mock interviews with people you don’t know (to get used to being asked tough questions by strangers), researching the company (have they been in the press recently?), and checking the job specification (so you know what the role involves) will all help you feel more prepared, more comfortable before the interview, and thus more confident in it.

Also, whilst you never know exactly what will be asked, you should certainly have thought about a respons to the key interview questions you could be ask.

2. Not giving examples

The average interview candidate will try and waffle and bluff their way as a response to those difficult questions. The great candidates backs up their statements with facts. So when asked ‘Why should we give you this this job?’ – don’t just say ‘Because I would be great!’ – give the interviewer three bits of evidence from your work experience to date that shows you’re the right person for the role.

Detailed examples are everything - to show the interviewer that you canback up your statements. This will also show the interviewer that you think in a detailed way – which is no bad thing.

3. Distracting body language

In stressful situations, nervous interview candidates regularly do things that can severely distract the interviewer from what they’e saying. In fact, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication.

He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55%through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). So, a whoping 93% of communication is ‘non-verbal’!  Make sure you’re not doing anything such as tapping your leg (boys!) or stroking your hair (girls!) that may distract the interview as you deliver that killer interview response.

4. Not building a rapport

An interview is not just about the questions you’re being asked, it’s about seeing if you’re the right ‘cultural fit’ for an organisation – i.e. are you going be a great addition to the team.

You need to make sure you build a rapport – pay attention to the person interviewing, not just the questions, and try and connect with them. Small talk before and after the interview will definitely help you with this. If you want to know more about that mysterious topic of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ – read Daniel Goleman’s book on it.

5. Rushing your answer

Take your time – the more you think through your response, the better it will be. It’s natural in an interview to feel nervous. However the interviewer is (rightly) more interested in the quality of your answer, not the speed of your response.

They will also likely be looking for someone who is calm under pressure, so take your time and think through your response to get ahead.