Top 5 job interview mistakes

Jemma Smith, Editor
January, 2016

Congratulations, you've impressed with your application and landed a job interview. Ace this next stage by avoiding these common mistakes

It doesn't matter whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned professional, when it comes to job interviews it's surprisingly easy to trip yourself up.

Interviews are often the first chance you get to come face-to-face with potential employers, so it's important that you make yourself memorable for the right reasons. However, with other talented candidates up for the role this can sometimes be a challenge.

This becomes even trickier when you consider the long list of acceptable interview etiquette, so to take some of the pressure off your preparation we've put together a list of the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

Talking too much or not enough

Learn to strike a balance as waffling can be just as detrimental as forgetting to mention important points. 'Avoid talking about everything all at once,' says Rachel Locke, a career adviser with the National Careers Service. 'It's important that you sell yourself but try not to ramble. Choose your most appropriate attributes and give examples, without glossing over them or going into too much detail.'

Failing to do your research

A lack of research into either the company or the role will leave you feeling unprepared. Emma Judge, head of student recruitment at EY believes that you need to be fully up-to-date on the company's presence in the news. 'Ensure that you fully understand the role on offer and the way in which you will fit into the organisations structure. An understanding at this level puts you in a position where you can demonstrate how you can meet the job requirements.'

Criticising previous employers or colleagues

This can give employers the wrong impression of you and can make them question what you'd say about them in similar circumstances. 'Instead of highlighting the mistakes of others, emphasise the positive steps you took in order to overcome them,' explains Rachel. 'This shows how proactive you can be.'

Being late

There are no excuses for tardiness when it comes to job interviews so show your enthusiasm for the role by being on time. 'If you know where you need to be and when, you'll be able to plan for any delays you may encounter,' says Emma. 'Check websites or apps for transport updates and take the details of your interview contact in case you are unavoidably delayed.'

Dressing inappropriately

Showing up in jeans and trainers won't make a great first impression, 'being well presented is a must so choose your outfit carefully,' advises Rachel. 'Knowing the type of organisation you have applied to will help you decide. You need to make sure that you look the part and still feel confident.'

How to ace an interview

It's all well and good knowing what not to do at an interview, but not much use if you don't know what you should be doing to win the job.

'You will need to evidence your motivation for the role,' explains Rachel. 'Enthusiasm is a must and a positive attitude makes an instantly more appealing candidate.'

The importance of overcoming nerves and expressing the real you also shouldn't be underestimated. 'Be confident,' emphasises Emma. 'Interviewers want to see what kind of employee you would be, not just how bright you are, so it's important to be relaxed and let your personality show through.'

To do well you need to put yourself ahead of other candidates and think about your future within the company, 'employers like to see forward thinking graduates who can commit,' adds Rachel.

Above all else remember to smile and be yourself, 'interviews are a learning curve through which you can hone your skills, so treat each one as your chance to shine.'