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Common Interview Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Your recruiter’s told you you’re the perfect fit for the role, you’ve got all the qualifications and have arrived bang on time. The interview should be smooth sailing from now on, right?  Unfortunately not.  Tech candidates for roles at all levels tend to make similar, all too common interview mistakes that can cost them dearly. We’ve identified those most regularly highlighted by employers and recruiters:

 

Failure to research

There’s absolutely no excuse for being anything but ultra-informed about the company you’re applying to. The strongest candidates are not only aware of what a firm does, but will also have thought through where it’s going, where it sits compared to its competitors and what contribution you could make to its future success.  It’s a good idea to come up with a few considered, company-specific questions to ask at the end of the interview, if not at another appropriate moment.

Bad communication skills

If you’re the shy type, try to prepare and rehearse answers to some likely questions. A common blunder is to answer a query about, say, your expertise in SAP with a blunt yes or no.  A panel will likely be expecting more and you’ll end up sitting in awkward silence. Instead, try to imagine each question is the start of a conversation rather than simply offering closed replies. Employers want to see whether you’ll work effectively with other and are able to communicate accordingly.  

Slovenly appearance

Think about your whole outfit, not just your top half. The days when you’d be judged badly for dressing too formally for a tech interview are long gone. For management and other senior positions, think suit and smart shoes over khakis and crinkled shirt and remember it’s better to err on the side of too smart over too casual.

Seeming arrogant rather than confident

The desire to come across as confident and able can sometimes tip into arrogance and egocentricity – two qualities that are certain to repel potential employers. They’re looking for someone who’ll be a positive team player rather than an employee who is rather too keen on the sound of their own voice. It’s very possible to highlight your achievements believably and without coming off as a show off, an attitude that will earn you far more brownie points.

Negativity about your current employer

This is a very easy trap to fall into. You might think your present CEO is the devil incarnate, but an interview for a new position is not the place to air your grievances. Think of a succinct, tactful way to express why you’re leaving your current role if there have been choppy waters. The key is to come across as excited by the new job rather than worn out by your old one.