They say first impressions last, and a job interview is one of the first impressions a potential employer can get of you. It’s where you’re given a chance to further elaborate on your skills and experiences, as well as demonstrate the qualifications you have that are relevant to the role you’re interviewing for.

Knowing what not to do during an interview can help you better prepare and think of ways to show interviewers that you’re taking the interview seriously and that you can act appropriately in a professional setting. Here are some common slip-ups you’d want to avoid if you want to show a potential employer that you’re qualified for the job:

Common Job Interview Mistakes

Not doing your homework

This one might sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many job seekers fail to impress potential employers simply because they didn’t do sufficient research before the interview. Being able to answer the question “What do you know about our company?” should be easy if you do your homework properly. Be genuinely curious about the company, find out about their history, mission statement, locations, divisions, and more.

Bonus: It also helps to learn about the company’s culture by checking their social media pages (if they have any), especially LinkedIn.

Inappropriate attire

No matter what job you’re applying for and no matter what company, it’s of vital importance that you’re appropriately dressed and put together. Even if it’s a company with a casual dress code, make sure you look professional. This will show your potential employer that you’re taking the interview seriously and have a high sense of professionalism.

Arriving late

Make sure you don’t give your potential employer a bad first impression before they even meet you. Arriving late at an interview not only shows unpreparedness and poor time management skills but also demonstrates a lack of respect for the company and the interviewers. So make sure you arrive on time for your job interview, or even early. But not TOO early.

The earliest you should arrive is 10-15 minutes early. This will give the interviewer time to finish any work that they might be doing and prepare for the interview.

Using your phone during the interview

If you can put your phone on silent before you step into a movie theatre, then surely you can do it before getting to your job interview as well. Using your phone during an interview not only screams rude, but it’s also disruptive and shows that the role you’re applying for and the interview aren’t on top of your priority list.

Losing your focus

Make sure you’re not only well-prepared for your interview, but well-rested and sufficiently energised as well. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast before your interview because it’s imperative that you’re refreshed and alert. This will help you focus on the things the interviewers are saying, which will in turn help you better answer questions that they might have.

Staying focused and listening to everything the interviewer says will also help you know what questions to ask or what information you should share.

Being unsure of your own resume facts

Even if it is your resume, make sure you refresh yourself on its details. Prepare a copy for yourself so you can read it over while waiting for your interviewer. Some companies will require you to fill out an application form even if you’ve already submitted a resume, so make sure you have all the details you’ll need such as dates of prior employment and names of former employers.

It might be a little difficult to recall details about some of your older experiences, that’s why it’s a good idea to review the facts prior to your interview. This will help you answer any questions the interviewers might have regarding your previous experiences more confidently.

Talking too much

Yes, the interviewer would like to get to know you better. But no, they don’t need your entire life story. Remember that no matter how friendly or welcoming the interviewer is, interviews are professional situations, not personal. So make sure to answer questions succinctly to avoid unnecessary rambling. Also, you may feel nervous or really want the job and you “over answer” the questions that have been asked. It’s a good idea to be mindful of the interviewer’s time and read the room to see if your long answers are welcome or just tolerated.

Backbiting previous employers

No matter how terrible a past work experience or previous employer was, make sure not to badmouth them. It might be tempting to share how incompetent your old boss was, but talking ill about your previous employers or co-workers wouldn’t help in showing the interviewers that you work well with other people. It can even come across as insecurity.

Talk about the things you learned and the skills you developed from your past work experiences instead. When asked the common job interview question “Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult colleague”, make sure you answer it positively. This will demonstrate your ability to work well with other people and resolve issues maturely and professionally.

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