We have given a lot of advice about what TO DO in a job interview (such as this and this) but we rarely tell you what you shouldn’t do in an interview. There are obvious choices such as don’t be rude, don’t turn up late, don’t dress inappropriately… But what about the more subtle mistakes you could be making that are costing you your next job?
Place the blame
A lot of job interview questions are situational based. This means, your answers will revolve around past experiences and should contain emphasis on a resolution. Known also as the STAR technique (situation, task, action and result).
Take for example the interview question, how do you deal with difficult situations? A negative approach to this question is mentioning previous problems with co-workers and pinpointing the blame onto a previous employer.
Instead, a successful answer will acknowledge that sometimes difficulties are inevitable and it’s how you overcome them and handle the pressure that makes you an authentic candidate.
Do not say: “My previous employer always wanted things done last minute and my co-workers just couldn’t keep up.”
Select carefully the type of scenario you wish to explain. You can still describe how previously you would work to tight deadlines but involve a resolution. Time management, prioritising and putting in additional hours perceive positively by a potential employer. Definitely don’t name drop!
Unprofessional behaviour can immediately squash your job chances. This can appear in many forms, such as;
- Poor body language and posture
- Lack of eye contact
- Defensive and argumentative
All of which will affect the overall perception the interviewer has of you. The more you slouch within your chair, fail to engage in eye contact or become defensive when asked a difficult question, the further you will push the interviewer away.
Do not say: “It’s on my CV.”
The interviewer has just asked you what your experience with a certain area of work is, meaning they may want you to elaborate on something they already know is on your CV. Answering with a ‘look on my CV’ blows the opportunity for you to go into more detail regarding the area the interviewer was interested in.
Turn up unprepared
- You know nothing about the company
- You fail to bring copies of your CV to the interview
- No preparation into potential questions (however if you’re reading this blog now, it’s a good indication that in fact, you have!)
From an employer’s perspective being unprepared for a job interview suggests different negative connotations. You can’t truly be committed or interested in the role if you haven’t bothered to do your research. You are disorganised and haven’t managed your time well enough to prepare for the interview. Or your ‘wing it’ approach is arrogant and this type of attitude just doesn’t impress the interviewer.
Disclose personal information
Personal information regarding your age, marital status, race and religion are areas you do not need to discuss in a job interview. If the interviewer asks you any personal questions that are not relevant to the role you do not have to answer.
Try to also avoid mentioning these areas on your own accord. This is because it can put you at risk of bias. Discrimination can occur when a hiring manager becomes aware of personal characteristics irrelevant to the role you have applied for and takes them into consideration when making a hiring decision.
Doubt (it’s not all negative here!)
Do not doubt yourself. Have confidence you are the best person for the job and remember why you initially applied for this role. In a job interview, nerves can sometimes get the better of us causing us to cast doubt and question our own ability, especially if asked a difficult question. But the best way to combat this is to prepare thoroughly beforehand.
Ensure you are confident in how your current skills and experience can positively attribute the new role – along with lots of real-life examples. This way, it is a constant reminder (right up until the interview) that you are capable and experienced in the specific subject field.
What not to say:
“I know I don’t have a lot of experience…”
“I am really nervous.”
“I don’t know if I could do that.”