The 4 Biggest Interview Mistakes

interview mistakesThe job search process can be very difficult, and scary.  Whether your job search just started yesterday or has been going on for months or years, most people never feel fully prepared for the interview.

You should try and prepare for the interview process as much as you can.  Your job search process should not just end right after you click “apply” and finish submitting your job application.  You should be researching the company, practicing possible interview questions, and know everything that you can about the position that you are applying for.  If you fully prepare, then you will most likely be more ready for the interview than others who are applying.

Even if you spend a lot of time preparing for the interview, there is of course that possibility that you will still make a common mistake while in the actual interview.  Some common mistakes during an interview include:


1. Getting Too Comfortable

Remember that you’re on an interview!  At some companies, the interviewer will test you to see how comfortable you will get.  They will try and see if you will do certain things around them, such as gossip about coworkers, say bad things about your former boss or company, etc.

NEVER say anything bad about your former boss or company.  This tells the company that you are interviewing at that you will possibly do this to them as well.  Of course there are some cases in which it might be needed, but use your best discretion.

Don’t chew gum, play with your cell phone, leave your cell phone volume up or on, and everything else.  Keep everything as professional as you can.


2. Not Dressing Appropriately

This can be a mistake in many different ways.  Make sure that you are dressing correctly for the position and company that you are applying at.  You can find out the correct way to dress by asking around, possibly looking it up on the internet, or driving past the company to see what others who are walking in and out are wearing.

The other way that you can be dressing incorrectly is by dressing inappropriately.  Whether the dress code is casual, business casual, formal or something else, make sure that it is still professional for the job.  Clothes that fit wrong or show too much are most likely not a good idea for an interview.  If you’re wearing new clothes, wear them once to make sure everything fits well.


3. Not Asking Questions

Not having anything to ask at the end can hurt you.  It can tell the interviewer that you are not interested in the job.  And if you ask meaningful and helpful questions (yes, there can be such a thing as a bad question), it can help ingrain your interview in the company’s mind and help them remember you.  Remember, an interview goes both ways – you’re both looking for the right fit, so make sure you ask questions!


4. Showing Up Too Early or Late

Yes, you might think that showing up early to the interview can always be a good thing, but that is not always true.  The person interviewing you might feel rushed if you show up more than 10 minutes early.  If you arrive at the company earlier than you were supposed to, maybe just sit in your car and prepare a little longer until the time is right.

Arriving late is also a mistake.  Even if it is just a few minutes.  If you are unsure of where the interview is taking place, you should try to find the place a couple of days beforehand so that you know exactly where it is.


What mistakes have you made during an interview?  Anything that I didn’t include which would be a mistake?

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  1. Michelle,
    I feel confident I’ve been good at these. To me, handshakes are key. Firm handshakes are a must, but not a Hulk handshake that breaks your potential employer’s phalanges.

    Maybe this goes without saying, but it’s wise to be, ummm, well-groomed. I think everybody gets that one though, right?

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  2. The goal of any interview is to connect with the interviewer. If you don’t connect, you wasted the opportunity. The other things count, but it is more important to connect on some basis.

  3. Great suggestions! I had some great interviews that ended up with me getting job offers on the spot – the keys seemed to be to be up front, friendly, and professional. It helped that my past work experiences matched well too, but people tend to hire based on how they feel about you…

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