Job interviews can be a lot of pressure and for many, it feels like walking a tightrope – one wrong foot and your chances of success are all over. We all make mistakes from time to time, it’s only human but some of these mistakes can be prevented with a little bit of prep ahead of time. 

To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve compiled the most common mistakes people make at interviews and how to avoid them. 

#1 Being late 

Being late can hurt your chances of getting hired before you’ve answered a single question. It gives the impression that you’re disorganised and can be seen as disrespectful of the interviewer’s valuable time. If the situation were reversed, would you want to be kept waiting when you have a busy day to be getting on with? Probably not. 

The key to avoiding being late is planning and preparation. Make sure you get up a good while before your interview starts – set multiple alarms if you tend to hit snooze! Have your outfit picked out in advance and ready to put on. Plan your travel in advance and check regularly after you get up if there are any disruptions such as cancelled trains or road works. Fully charge your phone and make sure you have the interviewer’s contact details with you. 

If circumstances out with your control cause you to be late, get in touch with your interviewer to explain things when it becomes clear you won’t make it on time. They are far more likely to forgive your lateness if they know ahead of time. 

#2 Failing to research the company 

The things we tend to worry about most in the run-up to an interview is that we have no way of knowing exactly what we’ll be asked. However, you can be 99.9% sure that you will be asked what you know about the company. 

This question is asked to gauge how interested you are in the company and the role so not having a decent answer to this question will make it look like you’re not that bothered whether you get the job or not. 

You don’t need to provide an extensive amount of information, just enough to show you understand what they do and how your role fits into the larger business. A great place to start is their website but having a look at recent news articles about them will give you a broader perspective. 

#3 Talking negatively about your previous employer 

You might have plenty of legitimate gripes about past employers but it’s unwise to share these with your potential new boss. Complaining can make you look unprofessional and petty which are not attractive qualities in a recruit. 

If you’re asked about an aspect of your experience that you didn’t like, try to phrase your answer in a way that can’t be taken as a complaint. Don’t dwell on what you didn’t enjoy, instead turn it into a positive by explaining what you learned from the experience. 

#4 Not asking any questions 

Your interviewer will expect you to have some questions about the role. It shows them you’re genuinely interested and gives you the chance to assess if you will be a good fit should you be offered the job. 

What should you be asking? Asking about the company’s future plans, what the progression for the role would be like and what the rest of the team are like are all good options. Steer clear of anything surrounding holiday entitlement or salary expectations, it’s best to wait until an offer has been made to bring these up. 

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