Learn from others, stand out from the crowd and avoid these top five common interview mistakes!

The UK labour market has been very tough over the last five to six years.  The competition for jobs is still challenging.

Employers have been able to set high standards and wait until they find the candidate that meets all their demands.

This is the normal course of events in the jobs market.  It’s like the housing market, sometimes it’s a buyer’s market and others it’s a seller’s market.

The jobs market is starting to change and we are seeing an increase in vacancies (albeit spread across different sectors).

However you still want to gain as much advantage over the other candidates (the competition!) as you can.

1. Lack of Research or Preparation

This first point probably sounds obvious or common sense.  You’ll be surprised how many candidates think they can ‘wing it’ or win the interview because of their personality alone.

Think about how much time and energy the manager or HR person has spent to get to the interview stage.

  • Designed and written the Job description.
  • Created and posted the job advert.
  • Briefed the recruitment agents.
  • Screened 100’s of CV
  • Designed the selection process
  • Written the questions

Therefore, it’s only right that you spend some time preparing and reviewing the company website.

Once you are invited to interview start reviewing all the information you have been given.  Be prepared to explain in detail specific examples from your experiences that match the requirements for the job.

Candidates are generally unprepared for the Behavioural Competency Interview and do not provide adequate evidence of their competency during the interview.

2. Being Negative about previous Employer or Manager

Everyone knows not to be negative in the interview.  It’s still surprising how many candidates don’t properly prepare how they are going to respond, react and handle that question.

Interviewers will ask:

  • Why are you looking to move on?
  • What has triggered the interest to look for another job?

No one is saying you should lie – absolutely not. Just be prepared to answer the questions or you will put up the barriers, potentially feel uncomfortable and this will leak out in your body language.

The trouble with body language is it’s down to the interpretation of the reader and can so easily be interpreted as hiding something negative.

You do not want to leave any doubts in the interviewers mind – as they are more likely not to progress your application to the next stage.

3. Too Comfortable

There’s a difference between building good rapport with the interviewer and getting too familiar.

Keep in mind it’s an interview. If you are too casual during the interview, then the interviewers are likely to ask themselves how you are going to behave in the workplace.

Of course this works both ways.  If the interviewer is very familiar, you may want to consider if this is a place you would feel comfortable working.

It’s important to keep that professionalism throughout the interview process. Be your most professional self.  Be authentic and be true to your values.

4. Exaggerating on your CV

It’s easy to think you can exaggerate on your CV – who’s going to know or find out!

However, when you are questioned during the interview and asked to explain in detail how you accomplished a particularly impressive objective you better be prepared for some tough questioning.

It’s difficult to keep up the pretence when there’s question after question (probing) and you have to make it up on the spot.  That’s a lot of additional pressure you can do without.

Trust me there are some managers and HR professionals that won’t stop until they are satisfied they have all the evidence.  Whether or not you are being grilled by the interviewers, you will definitely feel liked you’ve been grilled!

5. Lack Passion or Motivation

The “any job” will do syndrome will not get you to second stage.  If not the first stage cut short.  Let’s be realistic here and repeat my previous point, how much time has the manager, HR, the interviewer or the agency spent getting you to the interview stage – then you turn up half hearted about the role.

Of course technical ability to do the job is important.  Once this is established managers will be looking for genuine reasons for your interest in working with them and in that particular organisation.

Your motivational fit for the job, the department and the organisation makes the difference between you getting offer the job or someone else.

The golden thread running through these common mistakes is not being prepared:

  • Communicate and present yourself and career background accurately and comprehensively.
  • Spend some time reviewing the various documents (Job Descriptions, Job Profiles, etc.) you’ve been given prior to the interview and spending some time reviewing the company website.

If you need any further tips and suggestions – why not visit my YouTube Channel!