Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Things to avoid in an interview 24/07/2012
Here are a few tips and tricks outlining some common mistakes people make in an interview.
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- 1. Don't be overly dominant
- 2. Don't watch the time
- 3. Lacking in preparation
- 4. Sharing irrelevant opinions
- 5. Failing to listen
- 6. Arriving late
- 7. Being critical of your previous employer
- 8. Answering your phone
- 9. Trying to be funny
- 10. Have a one way conversation
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1. Don't be overly dominant
In every conversation there tends to be a ‘leader’. The leader can change as you move through a conversation or interview. Make sure that you aren’t the one leading the whole time. You don’t want to come across too dominant or domineering as this will make the interviewer wonder how you will be with others you work with. People want collaboration and a ‘team’ approach, so make sure that the conversation works both ways and isn’t all led by you.
2. Don't watch the time
Have you ever been with someone who constantly clock watches? Isn’t it annoying? Don’t do it – especially in an interview. It’s distracting, annoying and rude to the interviewer. If you’re serious about the job you need to show it by giving it your full attention.
3. Lacking in preparation
If you turn up at an interview not knowing anything about the company or role you are going for you will look stupid. Make sure that you have done your homework and know about what the company does, where it’s heading and what they are trying to do. You should know about the role you are going for and also about the people who are interviewing you.
4. Sharing irrelevant opinions
Going on about something that is completely irrelevant to your interview is counter-productive and a waste of time in an interview. You may not even realize that you are doing it because you get so excited about a certain topic – but make sure that you become more alert to this problem. Some of us are easily distracted and can get wrapped up in a conversation if we have strong views on it and find it interesting. However, if it’s not relevant to the role or job you’re going after – suck it up – be quiet.
5. Failing to listen
If you don’t really listen to the questions, you won’t respond to them well or properly. Make sure that you put on your ‘listening’ cap as well as your ‘speaking and 'get my opinions & talents across’ cap. If you don’t listen in your interview you will sink.
6. Arriving late
Never turn up to an interview late. Imagine you are the interviewer for a moment. If you were kept waiting by someone you have never met before and by someone who is meant to be trying to ‘win’ the job – would you be impressed by their lateness? Turning up late will reflect badly on you as it suggests that you are disorganized and bad at time keeping – which can be important qualities for certain roles.
7. Being critical of your previous employer
Criticising who you currently work for is not a good idea. Even if you do not like them, do not talk badly of them or put them down. Describing them in a negative light will only look badly on you. Your interviewer doesn’t want to know that if things don’t work out with them you are going to bad mouth them to everyone you meet. Your interviewer will know that you want to leave your current job because you’re in an interview. Whether it’s because you hate your old boss or company or not – is irrelevant and isn’t something you should dwell on.
8. Answering your phone
Turn your phone off when going into an interview. Having it ringing in the middle of an interview is not only distracting but is only rude. What is even worse is answering a call in an interview. It is disrespectful to the interviewer and implies that you are not serious about getting that job nor do you respect the person who has taken the time to interview you.
9. Trying to be funny
Humour is a funny thing. Some people will find things funny when others will not so tread carefully here. Anything that could be construed as cruel, racist, sexist or discriminatory is a no no. Having someone try to be funny when they’re not, is not a pleasant sight or experience.
10. Have a one way conversation
Talking non stop in an interview is a bad move. This is bad interview technique. No-one wants to be talked at. An interview is a two-way conversation and so make sure that it stays that way. Make sure that what you have to say is relevant and has a point to it otherwise it’s just waffle i.e. a lot of noise but without much in it.
Nisa Chitakasem, co-founder, Position Ignition
Nisa is dedicated to upholding Position Ignition’s emphasis on personalised careers advice and assistance for everyone in need of a transition or change within their career.