You’ll know that you have what it takes to succeed in the role for which you have applied, but if you’re going to make the job yours, you’ll also need to convince the hiring team. This is a multi-layered process that begins with your job application and ends with the job interview. The last hurdle, the interview, is often the most difficult part. And it doesn’t help that many people inadvertently kill their chances of success just by making some easy to avoid mistakes.
That’s why we, at The Benevolent Society of Blues, thought it would be a good idea to run through some of the most common mistakes. Old Blues, be sure to avoid them at all costs!
Arriving Late (Or Too Early)
If you’re late when you’re trying to make a good impression, the hiring team will only wonder how late you’ll be when you’re comfortable in your role. If the interview location is far from your home, give yourself plenty of time to arrive with time to spare for your interview. You should also avoid arriving too early; there’s a risk that you’ll disrupt the interviewers’ schedule, and that’ll only annoy them. If you arrive at the location more than fifteen minutes before your scheduled interview time, just grab a coffee and go over your prepared interview notes.
It’s always important to dress to impress, even if the company has a relaxed dress code policy for employees. Your outfit should be professional and clean, two telltale signs that you’re serious about the role and want to make a good impression. Have a loved one check your appearance for any imperfections before you leave home.
Using your phone
The interviewer will want to see that you’re enthusiastic about being there and that you’re engaged with the interview. If you’re on your phone, then that shows that you’re more interested in whatever’s happening on your device than the interview. If you’re dealing with a personal issue that’s so important that you must look at your phone, then you should reschedule the interview. If you’re looking to kill time before your interview, then go over your CV.
You should know all the relevant dates and other pieces of information listed on your CV by heart. It’s your life, after all! Looking uncertain about the details of your CV can be a red flag to interviewers, even if there’s a legitimate reason for being so. It’s always a good idea to take a printed copy of your CV with you to the interview, so you can go over your employment history while you’re waiting (and also remind yourself of all the skills you’ll bring to the role!).
Speaking a lot
You’ll want to answer the interviewers’ questions fully, but you should also do so succinctly. Before answering, take a breath and remember to only volunteer information that’s relevant to the question. People tend to talk quickly and give more details than necessary when they’re nervous. But your nerves are something that you can control. You should also give the interviewer plenty of space to talk. They’ll have a lot to say, and giving them the floor will also help to keep the power balance in check.
Bad mouthing your previous employers
It can be cathartic to express all your anger/resentment/negative thoughts about a previous employer. But save those conversations for friends and family. It will not look good in the eyes of the interviewer, no matter how correct you think you may be. If you’re actively asked about a previous employer, find a way to put a positive spin on your experience. You’ll surely have learned a lot and have some ideas about how you’ll incorporate that knowledge into your new role.
Focusing only on yourself
You are the subject that you know best, and you’ll also be trying to impress your interviewer. So it makes sense that you’ll be talking a lot about yourself. But it’s not a good idea to only talk about yourself. In the eyes of the interviewer, this will appear as if you’re only interested in what you can get out of the role. They’ll be looking for signs that you’re committed to the company’s values, goals, and future. A good way to highlight your commitment to your employers is to discuss any meaningful contributions you made to your last company.
Nothing to ask
Most interviewers ask the applicant if they have any questions towards the end of the interview. Make sure you have a few up your sleeve. These questions should not be overly personal, nor should they be questions that are answered on their website. You could ask about the company’s goals and future, the management style, or the team with which you’ll be working.
Negative body language
We say so much without saying any words whatsoever. The interviewer will learn a lot about you just from your body language, so make sure that what they learn is positive. Standing tall, making eye contact, and offering a firm handshake are easy to do and ensure that you get off on the right foot. Throughout the interview, maintaining correct posture, regular eye contact, and frequent smiles can all be small cues that you’re engaging with the process.
Not following up
You’ll have been involved in a single interview. Your interviewer may have been involved in dozens. Sending a follow-up email thanking them for their time and stating that you’re still interested in the role can go a long way towards keeping you in their thoughts. If appropriate, you can include a detail from the interview that made an impression on you; this is a great way to show the interviewer that you were listening and engaged during the interview.
There’s no way to guarantee interview success. But there are plenty of things you can do that’ll gently nudge the odds of being successful in your favour. Here at BSB, we know that if you’re well-prepared, calm, and avoid making the mistakes outlined above, you’ll be giving yourself a good shot of being successful.