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ALRA’s Top Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on Jul 18, 2017


Interviewing can be a daunting process that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Preparation however is key to avoiding making those simple but often lasting negative effects. By remembering a few simple things however, you can avoid making mistakes in an Interview.



First impressions Last


We know that first impressions are vital, so if you don’t nail it? You’re already on the back foot. Some of the things that can create a poor first impression include:


  • Arriving Late.
  • Arriving with a drink / food in hand (looks disorganised & unprofessional).
  • Not dressing the part (tip: it’s always safer to overdress than underdress).
  • Leaving your phone on loud – It doesn’t matter how busy or important you are, they are too and they are giving you their time. Respect it.


Attitude, Attitude, Attitude


Attitude in an interview is important. Confidence is absolutely key – but arrogance will only have them walking away thinking, “they may have the skills, but I wouldn’t want to work with them.” So you do need to tread a fine line between presenting your skills and boasting.

Language or the way you verbally present yourself overall and even your body language is just as vital. A few things to be mindful of include:


  • Not answering the question and too much “umming” and “arring”.
  • Talking too much and not listening when they speak.
  • Making inappropriate jokes (by all means, tell a few little jokes to break the ice, but keep them clean and controversy free).
  • Badmouthing your previous employers.
  • Checking your watch (seriously, this one happens all the time. The message it sends the interviewer is that you feel your time is more important than theirs).


Other things to be wary of in an interview include your attitude towards the people interviewing you (do not be rude at all costs – even if you’ve decided the job isn’t for you) and having a whinge about ANYTHING.



Poor Preparation


Not preparing adequately is unfortunately one of the most common reasons candidates don’t get the job that we encounter. Coincidentally, it is also one of the easiest to remedy.

The two preparation areas that most commonly cause issues are:


  1. Not knowing your own CV & achievements. Fuzziness about your own working history makes the interviewer wonder if you’re outright lying or perhaps embellishing the truth.
  2. Not having researched the company or people your interviewing with. The interviewer expects you to be genuinely interested in their company – this means actually knowing something about it.



If You’ve Stuffed it (and you realise it).


Everyone has bad days and most employers are sympathetic to that. We’re all human right? So if you know you’ve completely stuffed the interview, depending on what you did and the person you interviewed with, you may be able to salvage it.


What to do?


Shoot them a short email explaining your circumstances and thanking them for their time. If you can humbly admit that you know you performed poorly, it shows self-awareness and a willingness to fix your mistakes. Most employers will appreciate this trait.

When you get to the part where you ask for a second chance, acknowledge that you understand they may not have the time but that you’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with them again – even if it’s just over the phone. Emphasising that they are free to contact your references could also help.