To increase your chance of landing your dream job, brushing up on your interview technique will be in your favour. If you are repeatedly being turned down for roles that you have the skills and qualifications for, you could be guilty of committing of these common interview mistakes.
- Dress code is essential
If you work in a formal, “suited and booted” environment but your interview is with a company that has a more casual dress code, or vice versa, make sure you’re aware so that you can dress accordingly.
Not dressing the part can make the interviewer feel uncomfortable, and candidates should always try hard to look professional.
- Be inquisitive – ask questions
When the interviewer asks: “Do you have any questions?”, the ideal answer to this is “yes” as it shows that you’ve prepared for the interview, and thought about the company and the role.
If you have had a productive, in-depth interview and everything has been covered, simply saying “I wanted to ask about the strategy / team / environment… but you’ve covered this already” at least shows you had questions in mind.
- Read the interviewer
That being said, if you’ve been working through a list of questions for 20 minutes, following a one-hour interview, suss up the room and know when it’s time to stop asking questions and wrap things up.
- Remember names
Remembering the name of your interviewer always leaves a good impression. A simple “it was great to meet you, Sarah” ends an interview on a nice note, and should be applied to whoever comes to meet and greet you at each stage of the process. One way to remember their name is to try and repeat their name a couple of times in conversation early after they first introduce themselves.
- Check before you name-drop
If you mention in an interview that a current employee is a former colleague, it’s worth ensuring that they’ll speak well of your time working together. “Once, the reaction was along the lines of ‘oh him, he was dreadful…’”, one Telegraph HR adviser said.
- Treat everyone respectfully
First impressions count so never assume that the receptionist / person taking you to a meeting room is less important than the person who is interviewing you.
- Do your research on your interviewers as well as the company
An easy way to find out more about your potential employer is to look them up on LinkedIn (especially so you know who to look out for when sitting in reception), however, there’s no need to drop in references to the company your interviewer worked at eight years ago to prove that you’ve done your research.
- CV gaps
If you’ve submitted a CV that shows gaps in your employment (“and we’d always recommend this over ‘flexing’ the dates… as if all goes well, we’ll be checking your references after extending an offer”, Telegraph HR says), you should have a concise explanation ready to go.
Employers know that “life happens”, but an interview isn’t the best forum to explain that you were unable to work for three months due to difficult family circumstances (especially if you end up in tears).
Even if you feel like you’ve got your pre-interview nerves under control, the dreaded dry mouth can strike at any time – take the water offered to you so that you don’t end up struggling to get your words out after half an hour, or interrupting the interview to get yourself a cup.
Having a glass of water to sip also gives you a way to pause and gather your thoughts for a few seconds before tackling the next question.
- Reasons for leaving
If your last job was perfect then you wouldn’t be sitting in an interview for a new role – but be mindful of how you present this to your interviewer.
Negativity and personal comments about your current team or manager will cause alarm bells to ring.