Common Interview Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

We hosted a poll on LinkedIn to ask our audience which topic they wanted to hear about on our next podcast episode, and the most interesting topic for our community right now is – what are the most common interview mistakes job seekers make and how can I avoid making them myself?


We answer those questions in our podcast episode, Common Interview Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. Still, we wanted to delve a little deeper and sum up all the common mistakes and how to avoid them, to further assist you in your job search. Don’t get ghosted by another potential employer ever again!



Showing Up Late or Not at All

The interviewers are people too, and they understand life gets in the way. If you think you’re going to be late, it’s polite to call ahead to reschedule, to respect the interviewers’ time. A first impression can only be made once and you’ll want it to be a good one. While it’s not great to have to cancel or reschedule, it’s a lot better than showing up late or not at all. That is something you can’t recover from.


Not Doing Your Homework

You’ll want to prepare for the interview, and that means researching both the company and the people interviewing you. When you get a calendar invite for your interview time, you’ll likely be able to see the names of the others who will be in the interview with you. Go to the company’s LinkedIn page, locate the employees listed on the calendar invite, and check out their profiles. Find something to connect you with them. They’ll appreciate the time you took to research the company values, goals, pain points, and the interviewers themselves.


Using Your Phone

Be respectful of their time and attention. They’re taking the time out of their day and away from their daily workload to meet with you, and that should be met with gratitude and respect. Put the phone on silent, so as not to get interrupted while talking with the interviewer and put the phone away, so as not to get distracted by the buzzing in your pocket. Checking your phone during an interview doesn’t give the impression that you’re busy and dedicated to your work, it gives the impression that you’re not interested and lack the attention or passive required for the job.


Bad-Mouthing Your Past or Current Employer

You don’t want to give the vibe that you’re a trash-talker or resentful of your current or past employer. That will only hurt yourself, not the person(s) you’re really mad at. And it may seem like a trap when the interviewer asks, “Why are you leaving your current position?” but it’s not. They’re not looking for an answer that tells them how much you hate your current job, they’re looking to hear the hope and opportunity in your answer at what you can do for them. When you hear “Why are you leaving?” what they’re really asking is, “What can we offer you in trade for what you could do for us?” Keep the focus of your answer on the positive and the opportunities presented to you by this new employer.


Overselling and Underselling Yourself

A job interview is essentially a sales pitch, but a little more complex because you’re selling yourself. The small caveat is that you don’t want to oversell or undersell. A common mistake some jobseekers make is lying on their resume or overestimating their abilities. The other common mistake some jobseekers make is the exact opposite – underestimating their abilities and not selling themselves enough. During an interview, you don’t want to be too arrogant or too humble. The best attitude to have is: You’re awesome and you know what you can do for them as their newest addition to the team, but you’re aware there’s always more to learn and you’re eager to be a part of that team to expand your skill-set.


Sharing TMI

Keep it professional, not personal. When they prompt you, “tell us about yourself,” they’re asking about your professional history and career story. They don’t want to know your life story or personal neuroses. When they ask about hobbies, it’s great to name a couple and how they relate to opportunities to go above and beyond daily responsibilities for the job you’re applying for. They like to hear that you want to expand your skills with them using your talents and interests.


Not Taking Notes

It’s a big pet-peeve among hiring managers when they’re interviewing a candidate and that person doesn’t bring a pen and a notebook with them to take notes. It indicates to the interviewer that you don’t care and you’re not professional. You won’t remember everything you and the interviewer discussed later, but every nugget of information given during the interview could help you reach success in your new role should they choose you for the position.


Not Asking Questions

At the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks, “do you have any questions for us?” the answer should always be yes. And have at least 5 questions ready to go ahead of the interview. If you conclude the interview without asking questions, that indicates you’re not all that interested or passionate about the position. Remember, this is your interview too. You should ask questions to help you decide if this job is a right fit for you and allows them to have the stage for a few minutes. It’s polite to ask others about themselves, and not take up the entire hour only talking about yourself.


Good luck on your next interview! With these helpful tips, we know you’ll land the next position you apply for. For more interview tips to help you during your job search, follow our blog.


Related Articles:

How to Nail the Phone Interview

How to Ace Your Video Interview

Your Body Talks: The Dos and Don’ts of Body Language During an Interview

How to Crush the Behavioral Interview