Congratulations! You’ve submitted a cover letter and CV that’s impressed your potential employer so much they’ve invited you for an interview.
It’ll be the most important opportunity you’ll have to showcase your skills and talents, so it’s essential you don’t make a faux pas that’ll ruin your chances. If you really want the job you need to be prepared. You may already know what you should do, but you also need to beware of making basic errors.
Here’s a list of classic mistakes you absolutely need to avoid to make the best impression possible…and get that job offer in the bag!
1. Bad interview etiquette
When it comes to interviews first impressions really do count. For instance, not giving each interviewer a firm handshake or making eye contact at the beginning is a bad start. Also, when you sit down it’s important to look confident yet comfortable, slouching is a no-no.
2. Giving vague answers
Forgetting to back up answers with examples could make you seem less experienced that you actually are. So refer back to previous situations such as when you successfully dealt with a problem or how you managed a sensitive situation with a customer. If you’re still unsure about this, talk to a Pure recruitment consultant in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich for advice.
3. Speaking too quickly
One of the tricks of a successful interview is answering questions at a calm pace. Not only does this let your interviewers digest everything you’re saying, but you’ll also appear well-prepared and self-assured. If you notice your speech moving up a gear or two, simply ease the brakes on and continue with less haste.
4. Not preparing questions
Not having any questions up your sleeve is a serious mistake – unless of course the interviewers really do cover your queries during the interview. Nonetheless, do try to ask a few questions to show enthusiasm and interest. Also, if you have a genuine concern the answer may influence your choice should you get a job offer.
5. Not listening closely
You’ll look as if you don’t care if you let your mind wander. If you have any personal worries put them to back of your mind - you simply can’t risk losing concentration. Asking for one or two tricky questions to be repeated is fine, but any more and that job offer will become less likely. By getting a good night’s sleep before the interview you’ll be alert and ready for the challenge.
6. The wrong outfit
First impressions count! Dressing inappropriately will give your potential employer the idea that you’ve put little effort and thought into the interview. Some organisations expect smart suits while others are content with smart-casual wear. We would always advise our candidates to play it safe by dressing more conservatively than usual and opt for business dress, even if it is a dress down environment. It’s a lot better than looking scruffy and ill-prepared.
7. Leaving your phone on
Make sure your phone is turned off (or on silent) before you go into the interview! Forgetting to do this is the height of rudeness and if it rings while you’re being asked questions it will rapidly decrease your chances of being hired and it shows lack of care in preparing for a work-related event.
8. Criticising former employers
Even though you may have had difficulties in previous jobs never say anything negative about past employers. You can describe the conditions that may have caused problems but don’t lay the blame at anyone’s feet. Try to find something positive to say such as lessons you learned from an unpleasant experience and how it has made you a better employee.
You now have all the advice you need to prevent interview blunders. Everyone at Pure wishes you the very best of luck!
Gill is a founding Director of Pure and has worked in recruitment since 1988, including eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company and five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia. Gill’s approach is to provide clients and candidates with the highest quality of service. She has a consultative style which has led to her building long-term relationships with both clients and candidates.