Think of an interview much like a first date; a blind date at that. Both parties will be evaluating one another on compatibility. Are you making sure you’re doing everything in your power NOT to give your interviewer a reason to dismiss you? Check out the list of common interview turnoffs below – avoid these mistakes and we reckon you’re golden.
- Arriving late
Rule #1: Be punctual. Nothing screams “bad attitude” more than arriving late. Think about it; your interviewers are taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with you. If you can’t be bothered to arrive on time, you’re simply giving off the vibe that (a) you don’t care or value their time and (b) you don’t care about the job either.
- Badmouthing your former company, boss or colleagues
Please don’t do this. The world is a small place and chances are your prospective employers may be somehow connected with your former colleagues. Saying unkind things about anyone you’ve worked with in the past just reflects poorly on you more than anyone else. It demonstrates a lack of respect, professionalism and gratitude. If you have nothing nice to say, it’s best not to say anything at all.
- Being rude to the receptionist
First impressions always count, and the first person you’re likely to meet when you go to an interview isn’t the interviewer themselves, but the receptionist. Politeness doesn’t cost anything, and being on your best behaviour should be a no-brainer. The interviewer could well ask the receptionist for their opinion of you, and if this opinion is negative, it’s usually a deal-breaker.
- Asking about salary and/or benefits
Most employers won’t have the money chat until later on in the interview process. Your first priority should be communicating to the prospective employer what you can bring to the table and why you’re the best candidate for the role, not what you feel you should be compensated. Don’t jump the gun by asking about the salary range and benefits package too soon. If they broach the subject early on, fine. But let them be the ones to bring the subject up.
- Not knowing anything about the company you’re interviewing with or about the role itself
Before your interview, you will be expected to have done a basic search on the company and the role at the very least. Being prepared does not cause brain damage! But being unable to answer basic questions such as “what do you know about the company?” or “what interests you about this role?” demonstrates you haven’t done your homework and/or the job isn’t that important to you.
- Dressing inappropriately
As the old saying goes, “dress for the job you want.” Wearing clothes which are too casual signals a lack of professionalism. Think about the dress code for the company and the role you are going for. If the job calls for business attire, dress accordingly. If the company has a casual dress code, we still recommend erring on the side of caution by dressing one or two steps of above the expected dress code.
- Appearing to be arrogant
No one likes a know-it-all. Remember that your attitude is under the microscope in a job interview, so ensure you convey your messages clearly in their intended manner. When trying to sell yourself, focus on your accomplishments in context of how you helped your organisation – do not simply sit there and brag about how amazing you are. Many hiring managers will agree that cocky employees are often difficult to manage, so do not set the alarm bells ringing in this area.
- Inability to back up what’s on your CV
You should be able to quantify or provide examples for everything you write on your CV. If you cannot, this screams “liar, liar, pants on fire!” Provide specific examples wherever possible when explaining your strengths. Never neglect the details!
- Too nervous
Research has shown that calmer candidates are more likely to be hired than their nervous counterparts. Some nervousness is normal, but excessive nerves can have a negative impact on your interview performance, making you come across as less assertive and enthusiastic which, in turn, can affect the interviewer’s confidence in your responses. If you’re prone to major nerves, practise your responses beforehand. Being prepared should help calm any nerves by default. Also avoid a floppy handshake, poor eye contact, stuttering over words and making any unnecessary jokes.
Playing with your phone during the interview
Just don’t. Ensure your device is switched off before your interview begins so that you prevent any interruptions. Focus your entire attention on the interviewers themselves. Playing with your phone will only convey disinterest and a lack of common courtesy.