Mistakes to avoid at a job interview

You have been given an interview so now is your opportunity to impress
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Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, but the best way to ease your nerves is to prepare for the interview to the best of your ability. You will have been chosen to interview on the basis of your CV which means that the company already sees potential in you and has been impressed by your previous employment or education. You should take confidence from this and bring this confidence with you into the interview.

To help you prepare for your interview we have put together a list of mistakes which are best to avoid where possible. 

Mistakes to avoid at an interview

Arriving late

First impressions are important and arriving late reflects badly on your time-keeping skills. Leave home early to be sure you get there on time. If the interview is somewhere you haven’t been before, it’s a good idea to go there a day or two beforehand to insure you know exactly where it is.

Dressing inappropriately

For most jobs an interviewer won’t care what brand of clothes you wear or how stylish you look. However, dressing well shows your potential employer that you are taking the interview seriously and have put time and effort into your preparation. If you are unsure of what the dress code is for the company you are applying for email them in advance and they will let you know what is suitable to wear. 

Not doing your research 

You don’t need to memorise the company’s profit figures, but you should know something about their products or services and company policy. Look the company up online so that you feel confident to talk about how you would fit in as part of their team. If they organise events or campaigns you should refer to specific ones during the interview to show your knowledge of the company and their work.  

Being negative 

Avoid speaking negatively about your last job, boss or yourself. Before you go to the interview try and pick out something about your last job that you enjoyed, even if it was only something small, as well as positive things which you took from your time working there. Sometimes we can find it easier to put ourselves down instead of building ourselves up, but a job interview is not the place to do so. Try your best to speak about both your good and bad qualities in a positive light. 

Being overly nervous

Try your best not to let your nerves get the better of you. If you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to or feel stumped during the middle of the interview try to stay calm. You won’t be expected to know every single answer, so take a deep breath and try to lead the conversation to a relevant point you feel confident talking about.

Being under confident 

If you weren’t suitable for the job, you wouldn’t get an interview. Feel confident about yourself and your abilities. Remind yourself what a great job you’ll do if you are hired. Then relax, tell them about your skills and just be yourself.

Negative body language

It might sound simple but small things can have a big impression. Sitting up straight and giving eye contact will help you look and feel more confident. Take a look at our guide to body language during interviews for more information on impressing in your interview.

Read our article on how to answer interview questions.

For more information on interview prep, writing your CV and applying for jobs also take a look at our Employment section. 

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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