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Avoid These Common Interview Mistakes


Your interview is scheduled for next week, and you’re feeling prepared, optimistic, and confident…more or less. You know you’re a great fit for this job, but you still to make your case and close the deal without any hitches or blunders. Of course you’ll be practicing your elevator pitch, choosing your attire carefully and getting ready to field the tough questions. But as you do so, make sure also keep an eye out for these common mistakes.

Showing up late and flustered.

Of course there’s no way you would ever be late for a job interview. You’re an experienced professional and a responsible adult! But here’s a tip: People show up late for interviews all the time, and they never do so on purpose. Double check your route; don’t just rely on your navigation app. And remember that your phone can’t help you once you enter the building and find yourself in a maze. Give yourself more lead time than you think you’re going to need.

Being fake.

You practiced your smile and your handshake a hundred times, but now you need to stop overthinking and let your training kick in. Plastic smiles, robotic handshakes, and fake laughter (yikes) can send your interview off the rails before it even starts. You may feel nervous as you enter the lobby, but by the time you meet your interviewer, let go and relax. Be yourself. You have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Phone trouble.

Again, your phone can get you to the door. But after that, you’ll be on your own. Bring printed copies of your resume, don’t assume you can use your phone to share documents. And of course, you won’t be able to reach for your phone to answer technical questions or retrieve information about your own background if you need to. In fact, your phone should not be seen at all– OR heard—for the duration of the meeting.

Speech problems.

You’re a great conversationalist in most settings, but be careful. Nervous energy can give rise to uncharacteristic behaviors. Oddly, quirky interviewees who spend the meeting smelling their hair or staring at the ceiling often have no idea that they’re doing these things. Keep a conscious eye on your body language and recognize that soothing behaviors can take place without your knowledge. As you speak, slow your words, think for two full seconds before you talk, and don’t keep talking when your interviewer seems ready to close the subject and move on.

For more on how to avoid common interview mistakes—the kind that even seasoned pros sometimes commit—contact the job search experts at CSS.

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