Interviews are always tough – it’s hard to know how to make the right impression. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for success, and getting advice on the subject can only get you so far – ultimately it is up to you to give it your best on the day. On the other hand, there are definitely things that you should NOT do in an interview, and avoiding these things could really draw a line between success and failure. Here are 6 interview DON’TS:
DON’T turn up late
Okay, I’ve started with a pretty obvious point. Of course, you wouldn’t deliberately turn up late, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances can intrude on your plans. It can happen can to anyone, but you should try to completely minimise the risk of anything going wrong. Don’t aim to get there on time – aim to get there early. Turning up late for an interview is a warning sign for recruiters – a big red neon flashing light that spells out “POOR TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS”. So yes, always leave the house early.
DON’T go in blind
If the first question the interviewer asks you is “what do you know about the company?” and it stumps you, it’s probably not going well. You’re supposed to be showing your prospective employers that you are actively engaging with their company and not merely looking to earn some money. Take an interest in what they are about and what they do.
DON’T turn a weakness into a strength
When you’re asked “what are your weaknesses?” in an interview I’m guessing you probably say something like “I’m a perfectionist” or “sometimes I work too hard” (I know I have). As it turns out though, that may not be the best approach. For one thing, it might appear to the recruiter that you are avoiding the question by twisting it into a boast. For another, it really doesn’t show the interviewer a willingness to develop and improve oneself. The best approach is to mention something you feel you could be better at, and then detail various ways in which you’re trying to get there (i.e. mention a course or some additional training you may be taking).
DON’T be fuzzy about the details
It’s easier to recount the timeline of your career when writing your CV – you have plenty of time to reflect on it and get the facts straight. The problems might arise when your interviewer wants to find out a little bit more about a particular job and you struggle to recall the details, or your dates don’t corroborate with your CV. None of us has perfect recall about everything we’ve done, but if your information doesn’t add up in the interview it can look dodgy. Take some time before you go in to look over your CV – or even take it along with you if it helps!
DON’T say too much
The flip side of the previous point is revealing too much about yourself, and by this, I mean talking about your personal life. Keep it professional. As warm and congenial as your interviewer may be, don’t lapse into total informality. Even if you are asked to talk about yourself, use that as a platform to highlight personal attributes that are relevant to the job role.
DON’T forget to ask questions
This is an often overlooked aspect of the interview. When the interviewer asks “do you have any questions?” make sure you have something prepared. As mentioned earlier, you need show that you are engaging with the company. Questions about potential career progression and development are great because they show drive and a willingness to improve oneself.