In this article, we are going to look at 6 specific examples of job interview mistakes you can make that can seriously harm your chances of getting hired. All of the 6 examples in this article are directly taken from real-life experiences had by the author.
Job interview mistakes are a part of life, a part of growing older and gaining more experience in the working world. Nobody enjoys making mistakes in a job interview situation but what is important is we recognise the mistakes we have made, understand how we could improve on them for future job interviews and then put what we have learned into practice.
Want to make fewer mistakes in your job interviews? Check out our article 13 Top Job Interview Tips – The Definitive Guide.
- 1 Failing to maintain your professionalism throughout
- 2 Failing to research the organisation
- 3 Qualifying yourself for jobs which you have little experience in
- 4 Fully understand the job requirements before applying
- 5 Not asking the questions that are important to you during the interview
- 6 Do not overpromise and underdeliver
Failing to maintain your professionalism throughout
Not every job interviewer you encounter will be as nice, respectful and accommodating as you might wish for. Sometimes job interviewers can be blunt, too direct or use language which you might not agree with.
This can sometimes be because they want to put you into a more stressful environment to see how you cope under pressure, other times it can just be a poor job interviewer.
Many things can annoy us, distract us and sometimes even anger us in a job interview which results in throwing you off your game which leads to you making mistakes in your job interview.
Behaviours such as a lack of manners, being overly critical of your resume and negative body language are all things that can make us as humans react negatively whether that be from the body language we then begin to exhibit or the tone of voice and way in which we deliver our answers.
Reacting negatively to the circumstances you find yourself in will go against you and could be responsible for you not receiving a job offer. Regardless of the behaviours of those opposite you, we must always strive to maintain a calm and professional appearance and that of someone who the interviewers feel they could either work well with or would be a good fit for the organisation,
Remember, a job interview should leave all people involved feeling positive. If you feel the organisation did not demonstrate the values you are looking for (and you have the luxury of declining a job) you are within your rights to turn them down and look for other employment opportunities.
Failing to research the organisation
Researching the company you have an upcoming job interview with is essential. In our job interview tips article, we go into more detail on this point, but as an absolute bare minimum, you should make sure to check out the company’s website, social media and also put their name into Google or Google News to see if anything interesting appears.
Receiving questions regarding your understanding of the business and what it does is very common. If you are unable to provide at least a competent answer you run the risk of getting found out for your lack of preparation and looking foolish.
Interviewers love to ask you what you know about their organisation and the products and services it offers. It can help them to understand your existing knowledge of them, the industry they operate in and how well you could fit into their organisation.
For you, the interviewee, this is one of the golden questions where you can really impress them with your knowledge of their organisation and industry but also link your other knowledge, past experiences, skills and qualifications to show you really are the person for the job.
Confidence can go a long way in a job interview. Often this is one of the questions that interviewers like to use early in an interview. Do yourself a favour by knowing the answer you will give ahead of time and set yourself up for a strong interview from start to finish.
When competing against other job applicants for a job role, this can be one of the key questions that an interviewer looks to ask you. A poor answer delivered from you versus a strong answer from someone else can swing things in their favour. Don’t give them the chance!
Qualifying yourself for jobs which you have little experience in
Firstly, we should point out that there is nothing wrong with applying for jobs you have little to no experience in. Many skills are transferable and often the right candidate with the right attitude and enthusiasm can achieve jobs in industries and environments they haven’t worked in before.
If you are interviewing for a job where you know you don’t have a strong history in a similar role or field then you should take the time to think about what answers you will give in the job interview, where questions regarding this are likely to occur.
Consider your strongest skills and attributes plus your work and education history and try to link them to the job description and job role you have applied to. Demonstrating your ability to succeed in the job you are interviewing for by linking the similarities of what you already possess or have done in the past to the requirements of the job role could go a long way in supporting your job application and really open the interviewer’s eyes to things they wouldn’t have realised previously.
For younger people taking their first steps into the working world, it is likely you won’t have the work experience to fall back on and reference in your interview. Interviewers will be accepting of this, but look to replace this with genuine enthusiasm for the job and a willingness to learn new things.
Fully understand the job requirements before applying
Before applying for a job role make sure that you fully understand what the job entails and any additional commitments that come with the role.
These could be things such as:
- Working away from home or working across multiple locations
- Working weekends or unusually long hours
- Qualifications that are essential in order to do the job
- A drivers licence
With online job boards, it may seem easy to click apply and send across your resume to the hiring company but do take the time to read the job description and any attached documents in full. It is best to identify if a job isn’t suitable for yourself at the earliest possible stage and move on to the next opportunity, rather than wasting both your own and the hiring company’s time.
Not asking the questions that are important to you during the interview
Not everyone’s circumstances in life are the same and often our commitments outside of work can dictate what we can or cannot commit to in our employment.
If you know that you have essential requirements which would otherwise prevent you from taking on the job, be open and honest in the job interview. A good employer where possible will be accommodating of your needs and look to offer flexibility for you. Sometimes however this isn’t possible making it an unsuitable match for both parties.
It is better to establish this during the job interview stage rather than accepting the job and finding yourself in an awkward position.
Do not overpromise and underdeliver
The final job interview mistake in the list is to not overpromise on what it is you are capable of achieving or the level of workload you are capable of taking on.
It is an easy trap to fall into where you are so keen to impress and secure the job that you promise to deliver overly impressive results and productivity.
While this can certainly impress the person or panel conducting the job interview it is also something that can backfire on you once you find yourself in the job and you have set yourself a high bar. Depending on the type of person you are could see yourself spending more time in the office or taking work home with you to complete pieces of work you previously said was achievable.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t promise anything in a job interview, sometimes reasonable requests might be asked of you which you feel you could achieve or help support in.
If you are asked about getting involved in areas you have little to no experience in, it is best to be honest in the job interview and state your lack of experience or knowledge in that particular area. However, if it is something you feel you might be interested in personally and may lead to future job opportunities you may want to express an interest in the request and ask about the levels of support and training that would be available to you in order to learn more.
This is a very complex situation to navigate when asked and a job interview mistake we can all be found guilty of, especially when working in professions such as sales or marketing where metrics such as sales figures or social media engagement can be easily measured and used as a benchmark.
We all want to impress in a job interview and there is nothing wrong with that, but as with the remedy for most job interview mistakes, an open and honest conversation during the job interview can help understand reasonable expectations and results from the job role.