Top 6 Biggest Interview Mistakes Made by Candidates

Even if you are a former CEO with high credentials and expect a six figure income, you are just as likely to make an egregious mistake when attempting to join another company.  Habitual expressions can be a major flub in another camp.  Here are some of the most notorious and yet amazingly common interview-killers:

1. Cell Phone On

Can you envision what occurs if your phone rings during your interview?  It shows lack of preparation and lack of consideration.

Also, never ever actually answer the phone or send a text during an interview! Amazingly some people do.

2. Self Focus Too High

Try not to use the word  “I” too much during  interviews, hiring managers might interpret a major ego standing in the way of a job offer. Sometimes due to nervousness or other traits, some applicants can talk nonstop about themselves, usually with absolutely no relevance to the job application. Remember to say “We” or “The Team” or the “The Group” occasionally.

If you can’t articulate simply and clearly how you can help the company succeed or solve problems, you won’t be a top contender.  In an interview it is major that you know the skills required and duties entailed so that you exhibit preparation. A good phrase to say is, “From my understanding of the job, you’re looking for someone with the following skills.” Then explain your background and be very specific.

3. Desperation Shows

Today, many have been out of work so long and need the job so badly they will say anything and that anxiety and over eagerness is a red flag.  Don’t oversell your skills and talents. People also tend to ramble when nervous. It’s a much better instead to have short, concise answers to common questions you have mentally prepared beforehand. Remember tosmile, make good eye contact, and know when to be quiet!

4. You Can’t Answer Basic Qualification Questions

One of the most common interview questions is always asked: “What are your strengths?” Yet hiring data suggests many applicants fail in this area, especially at higher levels.  Companies or headhunters want to know if you are a perfect fit for the job opening.   They expect skill sets, details of accomplishments and realistic areas of improvement. Don’t be afraid to list your achievements, such as you exceeded sales goals every quarter, or your division brought in five new accounts in six months.  Be sure to state how you intend to add value to the company.

Next they will ask for your weaknesses.  The best answer  is to turn the negative into a  positive. “In my past, I took on too much, but learned by delegating I could accomplish twice the amount.” This should win favor.

5. You’re Late

Some Employment Specialists advise clients that if they arrive in the lobby 30 minutes before the interview, they are late!  On average most recruiters will tell you to arrive 15 minutes ahead of time just incase there is paperwork that needs to be completed.

6. You Are Unfamiliar With the Company’s Culture

Research and memorize. Reach out to friends and colleagues who know the business. Would your position dress in business casual or Prada? Dress for the job in the interview.  If in doubt, then dress up.

And in Case You Didn’t Know…

There is another negative behavior to be avoided.  It is not in the above list because most applicants experienced in the business world have already. It’s important not to criticized your former employers or supervisors during a job interview.  There are many ways to segue around referring to an unpleasant work experience, remember remain positive and keep it classy.

An example would be to only state you are looking for a wider range of responsibilities, desirous of upward mobility in the future, or that you are so genuinely impressed by this company, when you saw their job post, you immediately hoped to be accepted.  That successfully pushes the ball away from any negative previous experience by expressing admiration for this one.  The working world is small.  Avoid criticism of previous employment. It is not impossible that the interviewer or someone else in the department knows the person with whom you had prior unpleasant experience, and that would rip your application, even if in your past experience you were the head of the company.

Carry Certifications with You, and Good Luck

Always have a small portfolio that contains any accreditations, certifications or ratings you have earned, as well as short letters of recommendation you have acquired from relevant sources. These would be presented if requested during the interview. Have your own resume copy in the portfolio so if any question is asked that requires an address or date not in your memory, you can with one twist of the wrist refer to your notes. This is definitely not something to do more than once, but it can indicate total preparation if done with finesse and confidence.


Today’s guest post was written by Grapevine Evaluations 360 Degree Feedback an Employee Assessment Company. Check out their website here.