The five worst interview mistakes

If after a job interview, you have ever been left thinking, ‘I could have answered that question better than I did’ then you should know that you are not the only one. Even people with years of experience and lots of skills, do not always know how to sell themselves to hiring managers.

If you are looking for a new job or have an interview coming up, it is important to think about your interviewing techniques. The best way to avoid common interview mistakes is to consciously decide not to make them.

Here are five big interview mistakes to consider and avoid.

1. Negativity

Graham Lucas, Managing Director at Michael Page, says that being negative about your existing employer is one of the most common mistakes interviewees make. Frustrations and clashes arise in all organisations, so a potential employer needs to know that you can manage yourself through this rather than simply calling it quits every time frustrations arise. Ultimately, they will want to know how you would behave if you were part of their business. Would you help move people forward or be a negative influence?

2. Lack of confidence and poor interpersonal skills

Rachel Campbell, Senior Regional Director at Page Personnel Finance, says bad eye contact and lack of confidence in delivering answers are typical mistakes made by interviewees. In most roles, interpersonal skills are important so you need to make the effort to come across as self-assured even if you are nervous. In a video interview, consider how you present these skills virtually. 

3. Lack of preparation

Oliver Nevel, Operating Director at Michael Page Retail & Fashion, says one of the biggest mistakes candidates make is failing to prepare sufficiently. Great candidates value their career and work hard to manage it successfully. They would not simply read a company website and presume they knew enough about the business. It is important to research the company culture as well as what challenges the company is currently facing. Different things will matter to different people, but well-prepared questions will demonstrate that you have done your homework and are taking the interview seriously. Knowing the answers to these questions will also ensure that you are not making the wrong career move.

4. ‘We’ instead of ‘I’

Sam Thomason, Operating Director at Michael Page Sales, says a common mistake he sees when getting feedback from clients is candidates referring to their successes as something that ‘we’ did as opposed to ‘I’. This can leave the more astute interviewer with the impression that the candidate is potentially taking credit for a project/account that they only played a small part in helping to win as opposed to something that they were solely responsible for. The most important thing is to highlight your achievements and the role you played in successes honestly.

5. Leaving your personality at the door

Jessica Whitehead, Director at Page Executive, warns that, in this market, shortlists are filled with individuals who are undoubtedly qualified to perform the role but the differentiator is almost entirely around the personality profile and human connection capabilities. This means that either subconsciously or consciously, you’re being assessed from the moment you enter the building. If you are unable to build rapport with the person who arranges your interview or first gets in touch to ask about your interest in the role, you are going to miss out. A sincere interest in the people you could be working with and the business and organisational culture is a necessity for any job interview.

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do in an interview, find out how to answer tough interview questions.

Are you looking for a job?

Find the right job today.

Upload your CV

Search our vacancies

We have a wide range of roles for you to choose from.

Our vacancies

Download your free Job Applicant ToolKit

Download our free guide to succeeding in in your new job hunt and navigating the new working world.

Download our ToolKit