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Fight the panic - How to avoid common interview mistakes

For any candidate who’s ever wondered whether those scuffed shoes and a wet handshake has cost them a job, well yes it has.

Insights Louise Pope 23 October 2015
— 2 minute read

Walking into an interview is sometimes a stressful situation. Avoiding a few common mistakes can put you above the rest and help you land the job.


A good resumé, the right experience and matching skills don't mean the job is yours. The job interview is where a potential employer gets a good look at you as a possible employee and decides if you fit. Avoid common job interview mistakes with preparation. An ex-colleague of mine always said, “it's not the best candidate that gets the job, it's the candidate best prepared for the interview that gets the job” – this is very true.

Read on to find out how to avoid common interview mistakes that can put you in the reject pile.

• DON'T BE LATE TO AN INTERVIEW - Being late to an interview is the first and worst mistake anyone can make. It shows that you disregard punctuality. The best thing to do is prepare for your interview as if it were 30 minutes earlier. Being 10-15 minutes early for an interview is usually expected.

• DON'T NEGLECT YOUR APPEARANCE - Matching your wardrobe to the position and one step up is generally expected. If you are interviewing for an office/corporate role, it is generally expected that you wear a suit. Hygiene is also something you shouldn't ignore. It is unacceptable not to shower and put on deodorant before an interview. Your suit should also be dry cleaned before each interview.

• DON'T NEGLECT TO DO RESEARCH ON THE ORGANISATION - This is one of the most vital points I have to mention. When you do your research on an organisation, you may go to their website, look at their mission statement, find out how long they have been in business, etc.

• DON'T COMMUNICATE POORLY - It's best to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying so that you don't have to ask them to repeat themselves.

• DON'T USE BAD BODY LANGUAGE - An interview generally starts with a handshake. You want to be firm when doing this. Once you sit in the designated spot, do not cross your arms. It shows that you have something to hide. In addition, eye contact is very important, but do not stare at the interviewer as this can make him or her very uncomfortable.

• DON'T BE NEGATIVE - It's important that you present yourself in a positive light. Also, it's advisable not to argue with the interviewer as this can be seen as a future of work feuds to come.

• DON'T LIE - Lying at the interview will most likely show in your work. If you do not have a skill, do not say you have it. They will find out!

• DON'T FORGET TO ASK QUESTIONS - This shows that you are interested in the role. The question should be relevant to the position. For instance, a good question may be "Can you tell me more about the work environment here?"

And finally

• Wait to ask the money questions. Naturally you want to know how much the job pays. A good interviewer may tell you toward the end of the session, but it is a mistake to raise the issue of compensation too early in the job search process.



Fight the panic - How to avoid common interview mistakes
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Louise Pope

Louise Pope

Louise has accumulated more than 20 years of recruitment experience in the UK and Australia. After successfully managing teams for one of the largest finance recruiters in the world, Louise transferred to Sydney in April 1999 and launched new offices and new product lines, managing the group through significant growth as head of the Accounting and Finance division.

In 2004, Louise founded Aequalis Consulting. Louise has a down to earth approach, but her energy, passion and ambition still fuel the business today, and will continue to contribute to Aequalis’s long-term success. She is a strong advocate of acknowledging the shortcomings of the recruitment industry, and is known for telling it like it is.