Five common interview mistakes and what you can do to avoid them 

Avoiding common interview mistakes is essential as you navigate the nerve-wracking experience of a job interview.  

Whether it’s your first interview in years, you’ve never had an interview, or you feel like you’re a seasoned professional, it’s handy to know what common mistakes candidates make at interview.  

In this blog, we’ll highlight 5 common interview mistakes and give some advice on how to avoid them.  

Common interview mistakes 

Being a bit too honest about your previous employer  

It’s ok to be constructive and talk about why you left/are leaving but try not to get into a rant or make it too personal.  

If you’re going to highlight some of your previous/current employer’s downfalls, think about the best way to phrase this and how it may be perceived by the interviewer.  

Turning up late  

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Being late is a very common interview mistake. If your interview is in person, then err on the side of caution when it comes to travel time.  

Consider doing a test run so that you are aware of any diversions or potential issues with parking.  

If your interview is virtual, make sure all your equipment is set up in advance. The last thing you need is for your laptop to start performing updates when you’re due to start in 5 minutes.  

With some interview processes you may be asked to undertake a telephone interview or telephone screening. Make sure that you have a quiet location with good mobile signal and are in position before the call is scheduled. 


Being ill-prepared  

Make sure you do your research beforehand.  

Interviewers like to ask how much you know about the company, so make sure you spend a bit of time on their website and social media channels.  

In particular, research how your role may work in the dynamics of the company and come armed with questions.  

Whilst interviewers like candidates to ask questions, a common mistake is to ask a basic question which you could have researched the answer to.  

Giving an answer which doesn’t match the question  

Interviewers would rather that you spent an extra minute thinking of the right scenario to share, than giving one which isn’t relevant.  

Try to answer your questions by telling a story, so that you consider all steps and details. It’s good practice to think about examples beforehand. While you may not know exactly what the interviewer will ask, consider some different projects you’ve worked on and achievements.  

If you’re asked about challenges, make sure you share an example where you’ve overcome that challenge and talk about what you’ve taken from this. Sharing examples of challenges you haven’t overcome, could show a lack of problem-solving skills and critical thinking. 

Talking too much or not enough

The right balance of knowing how much to say is a tricky one.  

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Not saying enough can come across that you don’t have the knowledge, or that you’re not as interested.  

Talking too much can make it hard for the interviewer to pick out key points. For some people, talking a lot is a sign of being nervous. If you know you’re a nervous talker, take a pause and gather your thoughts.  

Try to base your answers on the reactions of your interviewer. You could even attempt a practice interview with a friend or family member.  

These are just a few of the common interview mistakes interviewers come across on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in a competitive jobs market, you can’t afford to be making mistakes.  

What can you do if you think you’ve made a mistake at interview 

If despite your best efforts, you find yourself running late on the day, give the interviewer notice of this as soon as possible. Things like accidents and delays to public transport can’t be helped, or prepared for. Give them a call to let them know and apologise. If they can accommodate a later interview this may be the case, however, if there are several taking place on the day they may need to re-schedule.  

If you feel you’ve said something you shouldn’t or haven’t given enough detail or the right example, let them know. The interviewer will happily take additional notes if you have more to add. Likewise, if you notice that you have been talking too much or not enough, feel free to explain your reasons behind this.

If your reason is down to nerves, don’t be afraid to tell them that. Job interviews can be an overwhelming experience and it’s only natural to be feeling out of your comfort zone.  

If you’re a job seeker reading this, why not check out our other blogs for more advice on job hunting. You can also visit our current vacancies page to see if we have the right opportunity for you.