Career: 10 Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid [2021]

Your professional experience and compatibility with the company are not the only aspects that a manager considers at the hiring interview. These can be easily assessed in large part through your CV and Cover Letter. In this article we cover 10 Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid to stand out in a crowd in 2021.

Even more crucial is the way you communicate verbally and non-verbally during the interview. This can provide essential information to the recruiter about your character and personality, features that cannot be deduced from your CV, either Cover Letter.

CV interview mistakes
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The Halo effect can influence the process of recruiting and evaluation of the success of applicants. It happens when a specific person’s characteristic spreads into the whole personality and affects the evaluation outcome. 

All the little aspects about how you present yourself at the interview should amplify your chance of getting the much-desired job: the apparel, nervous tics, passing comments, etc. No matter how trivial they seem to you, remember: “The devil is in the details.” 

Treat everyone nice but genuine from the moment you step into the company. Don’t think the recruiter is the only person you need to impress. 

Ensure you leave a good impression with everyone crossing your path – you never know who has decision-making power in the company.

Alright, now you’re in a meeting room, and the manager has just arrived. Let’s learn about 10 Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid during your interview.

1. Being Unaware About Non-verbal Cues

Very few candidates think about this when they go to a job interview. The non-verbal, however, the nonverbal language says a lot about a person, his desire to be part of the team, or the veracity of what was said. 

interview body language
Source: Pixabay

The posture or mimicry of the face leaves, most of the time, room for interpretation. For instance: the crossing of the hands highlights a defensive behavior; the constant need to touch your face or ear denotes that you’re hiding something.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of practice and self-awareness to control your nonverbal language and micro-expressions. Here is what you should focus on: outfit, posture, the way you position your hands, the expression on your face, the tone in your voice.

Be calm and look at your hiring manager straight in the eye when answering. You’ll leave an impression of confidence and self-control when under pressure – precisely what your manager wants to see. Focussing on these simple tips can greatly help avoiding non-verbal interview mistakes.

2. Not Turning Off Your Phone

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This is one of the most easy to make interview mistakes: forgetting to turn off your mobile phone before starting the interview. This omission can happen due to emotions, haste, or lack of attention. The interruptions split the discussion and contribute to the creation of a tense atmosphere. 

Even worse is answering the phone during the interview. Think about it for a second. If you talk about something important with someone, and suddenly that person answers the phone, what would you think? 

Not turning off your phone or, not rejecting a call you received leaves the impression that you are not interested in the job. 

If you don’t want to leave this impression, don’t forget to turn your mobile off or mute it. If it’s a call you really need to receive, explain the situation to the recruiter and ask in a decent way permission to answer.

3. Begging For The Job

No matter how much you want this job or how much you need it, you must not show your manager any vulnerability. You don’t want to be seen as psychologically unfit for the role. Besides, it will allow your future employer to take advantage of your needs later in the negotiation. What’s going on in your personal life, the problems, or the challenges you encounter should be kept private.

Rather, emphasize the interview’s qualities and the skills relevant to the job you apply to, provide arguments for each decision, and support your professional growth with figures that reflect results. 

Instead, talk about the qualities required for this role and why they are important and relevant for you. Back up your reasoning with figures showing how well you performed in the past in similar circumstances.

The most important thing is to persuade the recruiter that you are the perfect candidate for the role. Carefully review the job description and researching the company before you go to the interview. If you know the company’s job climate and priorities, you will perceive in a way better way than showing the desire to find work.

4. Talk About Past Negative Work Experiences

On of the most frequent interview mistakes is to talk about your past negative job experiences.

We all had negative experiences in a previous job. However, make an effort to try not to share these negative aspects with your hiring manager. He/she might conclude that you will think the same way about the company in question, not knowing whether the things you said are true or not. 

Keep a professional balance, make a self-promotion plan in the interview, and follow it strictly. Consider what you need to highlight and what you need not convey. If the hiring manager puts you to the test, naturally mention that there were some negative aspects in that job (like any other job on the planet), but emphasize the promotion and growth opportunities you had, the results you got, what things you liked there, and what you want in addition to your former job.

You could really score good points here if you answer this question the right way.

5. Being Late Or Too Early.

This is one of the worse interview mistakes one can make. Most recruiters exclude such candidates from the start because they think if you’re late to an interview, most likely, you’ll not be on-time in the office later. 

We live in busy cities, and sometimes traffic or bad weather can happen. However, make an effort and leave early to avoid having to start a dialogue by apologizing for being late. 

If being late is bad, being too early is not good as well. Showing up at the front desk too early can put pressure on the hiring manager. You’ll also leave the impression that you have nothing better to do but waiting for him/her.

So what is the right time to arrive for an interview? In the book “How to turn an interview into a job,” Jeffrey G. Allen explains that 30 minutes is the acceptable sweet spot. Jeffrey’s book is full of practical tips & tricks to use in an interview, so if you’re actively preparing for an interview, take some time and read it before.

Because I live in one of the busiest cities in the world, I usually arrive at the interview premises earlier, so I patiently wait for my turn in a coffee shop nearby. 

6. Knowing Nothing About The Company  

You don’t have to memorize the profit of the company or annual sales figures before an interview. However, you need to have an idea about their products and/or services. You can find all relevant information about a company in business magazines or on the company’s website.

Think of 1 or 2 smart questions about your future role and company. You want to leave the impression you’re interested in the company and role – though you have already shown that you built some knowledge about both before the interview.

7. Making Strategic Interview Mistakes

A strategic mistake means recognizing an important weakness when you should not. If one of the questions in the interview is to name one of your weaknesses, be aware that the hiring manager is not looking for a truthful and transparent answer. 

For example, if you’re asked about naming a weakness, your answer should be something like this: “I am a very organized person, but you would not draw this conclusion if you looked at my desk.” 

interview mistakes manager
Source: Pixabay

Tricky questions can pop-up anytime during an interview. Be aware and use them to your advantage. 

You need to know very well what your professional path is, from beginnings to the present day. I discussed this aspect in detail in my previous article on 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Talking To A RecruiterGo have a look, and I’ll wait for you right here.

A good interviewer will jump from a question to another seemingly unrelated one very quickly. This is a common questioning strategy used to uncover any cracks in your story and see the way you react. 

You need to answer quickly, without hesitation, to everything related to your past career: projects you’ve covered in your CV, results, aspirations, etc. 

Keep in mind. You’re not the only candidate for this position. It is very important to present yourself memorably so that your manager will think of you when a hiring decision is to be made. 

8. Not Asking Questions About The Company

It is very important to show the recruiter that you care about the job. Ask questions relevant to the interview and details about the company, about the role, and what is expected.

Avoid asking about salary or other benefits too soon. If you are more interested in leave days, health insurance, or payment, the manager will think those are your main priorities. 

Keep in mind. He’s looking for a reliable person he can rely on. When he considers it appropriate to discuss the benefits package, the manager or recruiter will open the topic.

If the recruiting manager attempts to find what salary you would accept for the role, try to focus on everything that the role entails. Your answer should be: “I have an idea, but I’d like to know more about this position first.” 

9. Bragging About Connections In The Company

Don’t mention names or friends you know inside the organization. It can be seen as a negative. What if the person you are mention doesn’t get along with the recruiting manager? Better play safe and focus on the skills to convince the hiring manager that you have the right skills required for the role.

10. Choosing The Wrong Outfit

wrong interview outfit
Source: Pixabay

Whether we want to admit it or not, attire is a very important aspect of a job interview. If you choose a casual or flamboyant outfit, it can shatter your chances of getting the job you want.

The best option is to choose a suit or an office outfit in neutral colors. It works the same if you’re applying in creative fields such as TV, music, marketing & advertising. You will be appreciated for choosing a business attire.

Keep in mind that the focus should not be on your new dress or jacket, but on your personality, skills and value you can bring to the company.


career and job seeking
Source: Pixabay

Meticulous preparation before the interview is an imperative step in the recruitment process and can help a candidate dodge most common interview mistakes. Knowing the company details (products & services, history, mission & vision, etc.) denotes an interest in securing a role and positively influences the interviewer’s perception. 

The fact illustrates that many candidates do not necessarily end up reaching the final interview. The reasons are various, but there are a few things that can be taken into consideration before applying for a job:

  • Apply after a very close review of the organization. 
  • Apply only if you believe your experience is appropriate for the job requirements.
  • Stick with the interview schedule. Respect for each other’s time says a lot about a person’s character.
  • Apply what you’ve learned in this article.

If you found this article useful, help me share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop me a message in the comments section below. 

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