City Personnel Blog

Common Interview Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

May 2, 2019
What shouldn't you do when interviewing? Here are the most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors a candidate for employment can make.
Tips for Job SeekersCommon Interview Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

—Arthur Ashe

Landing a job interview is cause for celebration…until the pressure sets in! Unfortunately, it’s easy to make little mistakes without even realizing it— and many of them are more common than you might think. Take the time to prepare before your interview so you can enter the room feeling cool and confident.

1. Being Late

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We get it; life happens. But being late is the easiest way to make a bad first impression before you even arrive at your interview. It shows a lack of respect for the company, the position, and even your interviewer.

Give yourself 10-20 minutes of extra cushion time in case of unforeseen circumstances, and you’ll have no reason to stress about making it there on time.

2. Dressing Inappropriately

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When you interview for a job, it’s imperative to look professional and polished. Although your attire may vary based on the position you’re applying for — for example, you should wear business casual clothing to an interview for a non-professional job — it’s important to look well-dressed and put together, no matter what the company.

3. Bringing a Drink With You

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What’s the harm in toting your morning coffee with you into an interview? Not only is it unprofessional to enter with a drink, but during your interview, you should be laser-focused on the task at hand: making a good impression, answering questions, maintaining eye contact with your potential employer, and paying attention throughout the entire interviewing process.

Having a drink in front of you creates the opportunity for distraction—fiddling with the cup, or missing a question while taking a sip, for example. And although it may be an unlikely possibility, it also gives way to other unsightly accidents—like spilling the drink on the desk, on you, or even your interviewer!

4. Using Your Phone During the Interview

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A recent study found that a full third of millennials think it’s acceptable to text during the job interview.

Before you get to your interview, triple-check that your phone is silenced and put it out of sight. Texting during your interview is not only rude and disruptive, but it’s a pretty clear message to your potential employer that getting the job is not your top priority.

5. Not Knowing Anything About the Company

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Don’t let your potential employer stump you with the question, “What do you know about this company?” It’s one of the easiest questions to ace, if only you do some research before your interview.

Background information including company history, locations, and a mission statement are available in an “About Us” section on most company websites. Social media is also a good source of current information about the company. Prepare the night before and review the role you’re applying for and the business. You should have enough information to be able to ask questions and to demonstrate how you might add value.

6. Trash Talking Your Previous Employer

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Don’t say negative things about people or companies – no matter how much you feel they deserve it.

When interviewing for a job, you want your employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature and effective way, rather than badmouthing your coworkers or talking about other people’s incompetence.

7. Failing to Follow Up

At the end of the interview, you should be asking three questions: “What’s the next step in the process?” “When do you want to bring someone on board?” and “How should I follow up with you?”

Take the time to send a short thank-you email within 48 hours that cite specifics from the conversation (e.g., “The way you described the company culture really resonated with me”).

Give your references a heads-up they might be hearing from the company and supply each person with an updated resume.