Interview Skills: Top 10 Interview Mistakes To Avoid [Video]

Preparing for an interview doesn’t need to be difficult.  Garry Barcoe, our Senior Principal Consultant Infrastructure & Cloud, shares the 10 most common interview mistakes to help hone your interview skills.

Sharpen your interview skills: This is it! You’ve got the interview and now it’s time to land your dream job. We can help you prepare with our list of top 10 interview mistakes to avoid. Watch the video or read on to learn more.

Interview Mistake #1: Lack of Preparation.

Interviews can be tricky, especially if it’s been some time since your last one. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and the best place to start is at the beginning.

Find out as much as possible about your interviewer and the company. Do your research by checking out LinkedIn and the company’s website. Try and describe what the business does in one or two sentences because if you can do that, you’ll be able to stay on track in the interview.

It’s important to formulate an objective. Do you want the experience of an interview? Do you want to get to the next round or do you want to land the job? If you have a goal going into the interview, you’ll know better how to prepare.

#2: Arriving Late For The Interview.

Never, ever arrive late. If you do, it sends the wrong message about the type of person you are. It means that you are not reliable and you don’t really care about the job. No one will remember your excuse for being late, only that you were late.

To avoid giving this impression, leave enough margin of error to avoid any possibility of being late. It’s better to have time to grab a coffee before the interview than it is to be even 2 minutes late. It’s worth doing a trial run in the days running up to interview to make sure you know exactly how to get there and the location of the office.

If you can’t do a trial run, use Google maps to plan your trip and find out what the outside of the building looks like. Some offices have the same address but different entrances for different companies. Make sure you know where you’re going.

If you are genuinely detained due to an emergency, sincerely apologise once and move on. Don’t dwell on it.

#3: Make Sure You Have The Proper Appearance.

Every company has its own culture regarding appearance. Do your research and wear what you see other employees wearing.

Check social media and find out about the business’ attitude toward dress. If in doubt, ask your recruiter and if they don’t know, they’ll find out for you. That’s what they are there for.

If you expect the day of the interview to last several hours, plan and wear clothes that will look neat all day. Bring whatever grooming products you need with you and protect your head and clothes from the rain. Under no circumstances show up looking dishevelled. Again, this sends the wrong message.

#4: Lack of Confidence.

Another important one of your interview skills is to ensure that you are confident in your own abilities.

By being as prepared as possible, your confidence will grow. Remember that your interviewer wants to know that you are confident in your ability to meet the responsibilities entrusted to you.

#5: Poor Attitude – Don’t Let Yourself Down.

The best way to approach an interview is with enthusiasm and an open mind. Treat everyone you meet with courtesy. If you decide during the interview that you don’t want the job, chalk it up to experience and continue to present yourself in an upbeat and professional manner.

You never know when you might find yourself in the same room as the interviewers again and they will remember your great attitude. As a result, it might even lead to another position that you are right for.

People want to work with people that are nice to work with. Remember that at all times. It’s an essential one of your interview skills.

#6: The Wrong Pitch To The Wrong Person.

There are different types of interviewers for different purposes. Each has their own goals and objectives, just like you should. However, the two main types of interviewers you’ll encounter are the HR Professional and the Decision Maker.

HR Professional: Generally, they are there to screen people out; to keep from wasting the decision maker’s time. They are there to make sure that you have truly and accurately represented yourself in your job application and your C.V.

The Decision Maker: They want to be comfortable with you and certain that you can do the job. This is where you may opt to turn on the charm, discuss more personal interests and talk shop.

Try and get your interviewer talking, it’s a good rule of thumb that if you can get a conversation going, instead of a question and answer session, the interview is going well.

#7: Be Consistent In Your Answers.

Perhaps one of the most underlooked interview skills to practice is actually one of the most important. Professional interviewers are quick to spot inconsistencies, hesitations and uncertainties.

If the interviewer does suspect something is out of order, they may challenge something you say, just to see how you respond. If you back off, change, justify, qualify, over explain or even retract what you said earlier, they may think you’ve been exaggerating.

To deal with this, hold your ground. Smile politely, nod and ask, “Have I answered your question to your satisfaction or was there anything else you’d like to talk about?” This will give you some breathing room and give you a chance to think while getting the interview back on track.

#8: Failing to Listen – Very Important!

A successful interviewee reads the interviewer’s tone and gestures and responds accordingly. This means paying attention and knowing when to continue, change direction or stop talking.

When you see the interviewer’s attention possibly lagging, change the topic or better yet, ask a question. Don’t get carried away by the sound of your own voice.

Pay attention to the interviewer’s question and the line of conversation. Keep in mind that what they want to hear may be more important than what you want to say.

#9: Keep Your Cool, It Might Be A Test.

Thankfully, this isn’t very common but if you’re being interviewed for a high level or high-pressured job, you may be subjected to a pressure interview. This can take the form of making you wait, having the interview interrupted, inappropriate conversation and even rudeness or hostility.

Most likely, you’ll never encounter this but some unpleasant situations, like making you wait, can happen without intent.

So the trick here is to know yourself, your tolerance and what you’re willing to put up with. If you do react, do so with control and resolve so that you won’t regret your behaviour afterwards. It’s a matter of personal temperament and values and perhaps how badly you want the job as well.

#10: You’ve Made It. Don’t Blow the Negotiation!

If you get the offer, at some point you’ll have to negotiate your compensation package and any other benefits. Make sure the terms of your employment including responsibilities, when the reviews are done and any other conditions are defined. You must have a clear idea of what’s expected from you. Don’t commit to a salary or conditions that will make you unhappy.

Practice Your Interview Skills!

Now that you know what to avoid, practice avoiding them. The more prepared you are, the greater your chance for success. Practising your interview skills will enable you to feel more confident, answer the questions correctly and get the job! If you’d like to know more about what Stelfox can do for you, email

Key Interview Skills:

  • Be as prepared as possible.
  • Don’t be late for the interview.
  • Be dressed properly for the company and position.
  • Believe in yourself, you got the interview!
  • Don’t let yourself down with a bad attitude.
  • Find your interviewer’s job title and pitch the right message for them.
  • Avoid inconsistency in your answers.
  • Listen carefully to the questions!
  • Don’t lose your cool.
  • Don’t stumble at the last hurdle; negotiate carefully.

Want to learn more? Check out these FREE resources to get yourself interview ready.


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