The following is a list of some of the typical mistakes that applicants make during the interview process. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list but rather a guide on what to avoid. Please keep in mind that this isn’t a prescription for ‘getting the job’ but rather an exercise in eliminating things that negatively impact on your chances.
All prospective employers expect applicants to arrive on time, to come well prepared and to have done some basic research and thinking about the company and the specific job on offer.
If you want to promote yourself as a professional it is important to present a professional image. Being well dressed and well groomed is always a positive.
Negative or critical comments about a current or previous employer reflect poorly on you, not the employer.
Try to avoid coming across as arrogant, aggressive or overbearing. Conversely it is important that you don’t appear to lack interest or enthusiasm for the interview. Always look the interviewer or interview panel in the eye.
The interview process is about gleaning information about you and your ability to do the job. While it is important to be concise in your responses always take the opportunity to provide examples of your experiences and skills and relate them to the job on offer. Remember the prospective employer wants to know how you can contribute to the success of his/her operation so emphasize your successes.
It is important that you address each question openly and honestly – interviewers pick up on evasiveness and often regard it as equivalent to dishonesty. If you have had a failure or difficult situation in your current or previous job ensure that the interview panel understands the context of issue, what you did to recover the situation, whether successful or not, and what you learnt from the experience. Most employers aren’t looking for the perfect employee, but they do want an insight into how you will handle difficult or high pressure situations.
Don’t make the salary package and benefits associated with the position the focus of the questions you have for the interview panel. Interview panels are always impressed with interviewees who ask questions that are pertinent to the role and/ or functioning on their business.
Even when you are right! If you feel it is a significant issue adopt a positive, but deferential approach by simply clarifying your understanding of the issue.