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What NOT to do at an interview

Georgia Lane job search, interview, job hunt...

We all know the do’s, so to speak, in terms of what you need to do/say in an interview to impress the interviewer, but have you ever thought about the things you could be doing unknowingly that could be damaging your chances?

Sometimes during an interview, we can say things unknowingly that can do more damage to your interview than you ultimately know. You might be saying things you think the interviewer wants to hear but the reality is...…it’s the more than likely the LAST thing they want to hear!

Our Managing Director, Gareth Broom, decided to give you what he believes are the top 10 worst things you can say/do at an interview that will put those interviewers off you. Some of these you may think ‘I’ve never done any of those!’ – but believe us you'll have been guilty of them at some point in your working life. But avoiding these pitfalls moving forward will assist you in your job search and give you a better chance of getting the job you’ve always wanted.

1. Criticising a boss or an old job.

You may be desperate to leave a role because you hate the job or employees but talking about that in an interview is the last thing you should do! It comes across as very unprofessional and makes it appear to the interviewer that you can’t get on well with other members of staff or your bosses (even if you have perfectly valid reasons for wanting to leave).

Plus, if you're talking poorly about someone you currently work with/for the interviewer could know them personally! In this day and age, you can never really be sure who knows who, so be careful you don't what to make that mistake! As it's one you can't come back from. 

2. Being on time.

There’s nothing worse for a busy business owner than sitting around waiting for someone to turn up to an interview. We all know we can’t control the traffic (no matter how much we wish too!) and sometimes being late isn’t always avoidable but when it comes to interviews it’s 100% the 1 thing that interviewers will mark you down on if you are! So, make sure you’re not leaving anything to chance. Make sure you plan your journey, know where you’re heading as being an hour early is better than 1 minute late!

3. Focusing on the benefits.

Don’t ask about benefits such as salary, holiday etc at the beginning. Of course, you need to know about all of these benefits before you can make a final decision – but focussing on these instead of demonstrating what you can bring to the company is an indication to them that you’re more interested in what you can get for yourself.

 4. Over-selling yourself.

Job interviews are just as much about ensuring that the role is right for you as it is for your interviewer to make sure you are right for them. Some candidates do get too hung-up on overzealously selling themselves though – and this too can be off-putting for interviewers and employers.

5. Talking yourself out of the job.

On the flipside to number 4, so many candidates can often go into interviews and set themselves up for failure. Whether it’s downplaying their skills or talking themselves out of the job, if you’re attending an interview, be confident and be prepared. Think to yourself “YOU deserve this job!”.

6. Being unprepared for the interview.

Believe it or not – some candidates think that they can attend an interview unprepared, turning up and charming the interviewer will be all they need to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that! Not researching the history, culture or brand of the company will make you look unprepared – and that you’re not interested. Trust us the typical “what do you know about us?” question will come up, don’t get caught out.

If you’re unsure how to prepare for an interview read our other blog post ‘Preparation is the key to success’ for tips. 

7. Lacking company research.

As we said the question “what do you know about us” will come up and the worst mistake someone can make at a job interview is not doing any research on the company. When they start asking questions about the business it is easy to tell who has done research and who hasn’t. An hour’s research could mean the difference between getting the job or wasting both yours and the company’s time.

8. Making the interview about you.

When interviewing, you’re proving you can both do the job and bring something to the company. Don’t focus on how the job will be good for you or your career. You need to get across that it’s not about how good the job will be for YOU, but how good YOU will be for the job and the company.

9. Not preparing your own questions.

A lot of people think that an interview will just involve them answering questions and fail to think of any to ask themselves. This is actually incorrect – as the questions that you ask your interviewer can really demonstrate initiative and show that you are interested in and committed to the role. Thinking up a few questions beforehand could very well push the result your way.

10. Saying ‘yes’ to everything

When candidates say, “Yes, I can do that,” to everything they are asked during an interview, something is not quite right and a red light flashes in the interviewer's mind. Sometimes, people have been searching for a job for so long that they’re desperate to show they can handle anything. But remember, every job is a learning curve. If you can do 95% of the role confidently, then don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to the 5% you can’t do.