It goes without saying that turning up late, chewing gum, slouching, dressing inappropriately and picking at your nails are classic interview mistakes but candidates can often dent their chances of success by making other interview faux pas.
Here are Bond Williams’ top 8 interview mistakes outside of the obvious, together with some advice for those heading to an interview soon:-
Not having any questions – many interviews conclude with the interviewer asking if the candidate has any questions. Even if you feel everything has been covered, it shows a genuine interest if you can ask one question at the end. Have a few prepared beforehand or follow up on something the interviewer has said as it shows you have been taking note.
Looking at yourphone – according to Ofcom, British people check their phones every 12 minutes and with the average interview lasting 45-60 minutes, there’s the potential for some compulsive screen gazing. Keep your device switched off and in your bag so you’re not tempted to take a look.
Asking about the salary – many jobs are now advertised without salary disclosure, making it tempting to ask the question during the interview. Raising the issue of pay, however, makes candidates look more interested in the money than the job being offered, so it’s best to wait until a formal offer has been made to talk numbers.
Showing ignorance about the employer – it’s not unknown for an interviewer to ask the candidate what they already know about the company – the response illustrates whether there has been any due diligence on the interviewees’ part. As a minimum, browse the company’s website before the interview, especially the ‘about us’ and ‘news’ pages so you get an idea of their background, ethos and direction.
Crumble at the unexpected – curveball questions – such as those about weakness and failure, for instance – are designed to purposely unnerve a candidate so their reaction can be assessed. Knowing there may be some unscripted or challenging elements will help train your brain into responding positively and not crumble under the pressure.
Being over familiar – it’s worth remembering that an interview is a formal process, and your professional ability and poise is being noted at all times. Even if the company you are interviewing for is renowned for its relaxed, unstructured approach, this does not give you license to ‘chill out’ in the interview. Refrain from swearing and street language, be polite and keep a professional dialogue with the interviewer throughout.
Taking the wrong talking tact – shyness can exhibit itself as short, monotone answers while nerves can translate to inane babbling. Talking too much or too little can leave a question mark over a candidate’s ability to communicate. Try and give rounded answers to questions, substantiated with good examples, but also try and keep each answer to less than two minutes long. Don’t forget, always let the interviewer complete their sentence or question before speaking, even if you’re bursting to respond.
Don’t badmouth your boss – the very nature of applying for a new job shows a degree of unhappiness in your current role but it’s considered an epic etiquette fail to speak ill of your current employer. If you’re asked to explain why you want to move on, your answers should reflect an admiration for the company you are interviewing for and a desire to progress your career.
If you’d like any practical advice on preparing for an interview or how to handle questions on the day, please contact Bond Williams.
Hannah Hashtroudi (nee Darby)
Principal Recruitment Consultant
Hannah is a specialist in the Office & Commercial sector. Dedicated, hardworking and motivated, Hannah thrives on sourcing and placing the best talent from SME’s through to large blue chip companies across the region and in London. Hannah has grown an enviable reputation for sourcing high level senior appointments together …