Job interviews are unpredictable. Every managing hirer has a different technique, different ways designed to get the very best out of you in a short space of time. Some interviews last 5 minutes, others will go on for an hour. Preparation is commonly referred to as the key to success, and while it might be nigh on impossible to predict exactly how the interview is going to go, there are certainly a couple of common mistakes that you can easily avoid.
Failing to prepare properly
We appreciate that the job hunt is tedious. You might have a couple of interviews in one day, making it hard to prepare fully for each and every one. But you have to remember that to the person sitting in front of you, their company is the most important thing. They are looking to hire the right talent that will raise their company’s game and they don’t care if you haven’t had time to prepare. No excuses.
If they ask you how much you know about the company, don’t sit there and tell them that you started looking into it last night. At that point in time, you need to know that company like the back of your hand. You need to immediately impress. Don’t ask stupid questions for the sake of it. ‘Who is your CEO?’ and ‘what does your company do’ are two questions which are commonly asked and are, quite frankly, embarrassing.
Asking about salary too early
You shouldn’t really broach the subject of salary until the second interview or at least until you have been asked about it. The hiring manager will probably ask you about your salary expectations towards the end of the interview, but if you ask them before they’re ready, you risk looking greedy and desperate. The worst outcome is that they assume you’re approaching your salary as the most important thing to you, rather than the nature of the job itself.
When the subject does get approached – at a time that’s right for the hiring manager – you need to know your expectations. Be honest, tell them what you get paid now and that you’re hoping for an increase. Research what salary other people in similar positions in similar companies are on, and make sure you’re realistic.
Disrespecting your current job and/or company
If the interviewer asks you why you’re looking for a change be honest, but not too honest. Discretion and loyalty are two of the biggest factors that a hiring manager will be looking for in a new employee, and talking badly about the company you’re currently in doesn’t exactly show the utmost integrity. You might be miserably unhappy, but this isn’t a therapy session, it’s an interview.
You haven't dressed up enough
Not every scenario requires a suit and tie, but a job interview is one occasion when it pays to be overdressed. Turning up to a City job in a t-shirt is the fasted way to look a fool and as easily avoided as this sounds, you’d be surprised at how often it happens. You need to prove that you’re slick, that you’re professional and that you can rise to the occasion. Make an effort, gentlemen, and we promise it will get you places.
Never actually answering any questions
When you walk into the interview, you have to remember that your potential employer will have sat through hundreds of scenarios just like this one and will be able to spot an bad interviewer a mile off. If you’re asked a question, answer it. Don’t skirt around it. No one is going to judge you for taking your time to answer something, especially if it means you coming up with an incredible answer. Don’t try and fool your interviewer, it’s not going to do you any favours.
You're late (or early)
No one cares if there are Tube strikes, if you didn’t realise how long it would take or if you couldn’t get out of work. You need to show commitment and to prove just how much you want this job, even if it means leaving 2 hours to get there on time. Turning up late shows lack of respect above everything else. Equally, it’s never ideal to turn up early; the interview time will have been agreed in advance for a reason, and showing up 20 minutes early isn’t going to result in anything other than you having to sit alone and stew at the thought of the interview.