The 3 Worst Interview Mistakes

alone on a benchImage by Chris H Connelly

After the assessment centres, the online tests and the arduous process of filling up application forms, the interview might appear to some as the most dreaded or the most welcomed part of the employment process. Confident or not, there are more than a couple of common interview mistakes which are surprisingly easy to make so here’s a rough guide of what pitfalls lie just beneath your feet.

1) Responding Over-Enthusiastically

It’s hard to understand how this works. One moment you’re explaining how you managed to deal with a bad situation or work with a bad team and then the next moment sees you overenthusiastically disparaging another person. Ouch. Stay professional! It might be true that that particular individual was indeed a most unsavoury character, but the interviewer isn’t interested in that. They want to know how you responded, and what you did to make a bad situation good. So rein in that enthusiasm and stay professional!

2) Failing to Prepare… Appropriately

This is one really simple thing to do yet it’s so easy to forget. Often during the preliminary preparation, it’s easy to either get too focused on the nitty-gritty details of the company and how it works or to get too broad an overview of it. Either way will lead to the worst mistakes ever made when one is unable to answer the question “What do you know about us?” or “Why do you want to work for us?” The sin of too much detail or too little detail kills your interview and your future job prospects with them as the former leaves one stumbling at the easy questions while the latter leaves one unable to convince the interviewer of his interest.

3) Failing To Think Before Replying

Sometimes with all that preparation done, it’s easy to rush headlong into the answer without a careful consideration of the question posed. At this point, the odds are that you will give the wrong answer and completely remove all chances of being employed by that company. Questions tend to be skill-based or value-dependent, the interviewer wishes to see the demonstration of a certain value which is already specified in the company’s website or recruitment adverts.

If you were to describe your weakness as being unable to do cold calling or a preference to avoid working with other people while being interviewed for marketing work experience, the results would be disastrous to say the least. Or even in an interview for a sales position and when asked as to how you would improve the sales, if you were to reply: It’s more dependent on the customer than on me, the chance is as good as gone.

Yet the worst thing about these mistakes is that they are so innocuous. They can sneak up on anybody and everybody, regardless of experience and preparation. But knowing about them is the first step to defending against them – you may laugh at the mistakes, but it could also happen to you.

So what are the worst mistakes that you think an interviewee could make? And do you think preparation is all that’s necessary to prevent these mistakes from happening?

Samantha Ong is an avid foodie who writes on a number of topics from organizing parties, fashion and the odd legal article. She studies law and dabbles in a bit of everything. Her current passion is translation.