10 common mistakes we see in interviews

Guest BloggerFinal Year, First Year, Graduates, Guest Blogger, Interviews, Part-Time Jobs & Volunteering, Second Year

Following on from the success of 10 common mistakes we see in applications, we’d like to introduce you to: 10 common mistakes we see in interviews.

Without further ado, here are real interview mistakes we’ve seen Aston students making.

Whilst the mistakes are real, Jim, Janet, Colin and Aaron are fictional characters. Any resemblance to actual Aston students is purely coincidental.

1. Not shaking hands with the interview panel.

Did you know that within the first seven seconds of meeting, a person will have formed an impression of you? That’s right, seven seconds. So make those seven seconds count. Shake hands with the person interviewing you, and make eye contact. But please don’t stare or break any fingers – this will result in a negative first impression. It can be tough to get the right balance, so practise on a friend/auntie/pet dog first.

2. Rushing to answer the questions and not actually…answering the questions.

You’ve practised your answers to typical interview questions (well done, good job), and you’re ready to shine. The interviewer asks you a question, and you blurt out the answer you’ve rehearsed. The mistake we often see, is that you’re in such a rush to answer the question, that you don’t actually think about what is being asked. So here’s a tip: take a breath before you answer. Really think about what is being asked. You can also repeat the question back, to make sure you’ve really understood it, and give yourself a few more seconds to think about what you want to say. Remember, it’s not an episode of The Chase – you can take your time.

3. Chewing gum.

Believe it or not, Jim once turned up to an interview with Wrigley’s Extra White Bubblemint Chewing Gum swishing around in his mouth. And he’s not the only one! It looks unprofessional, so please don’t do it. Thanks.

4. Wearing earphones.

Maybe you’re listening to a calming meditation. Or perhaps ‘Eye of the Tiger’ from the Rocky soundtrack to get you all fired up for your interview. Again though, this doesn’t look very professional. We’d strongly recommend you remove earphones before you enter the building.

5. Not dressing smartly.

Janet went to an interview for an IT role. She thought it’d be fine to dress smart-casual, but the other students she was up against dressed smartly. Uh oh. It’s all about creating a great impression. And if the employer is torn between you and one other person, they may well be swayed by the person who presents him/herself more professionally. In summary, always dress smartly for interviews. Jeans are a big no no.

6. Coming across as arrogant

There’s a fine line between coming across as a confident Colin and coming across as an arrogant Aaron (no offence to any Aarons out there). You need to be confident in yourself; your skills, your experience and your knowledge. But remember, be humble. People won’t hire students who think they know it all.

7. Turning up late.

Managed to secure an interview? Awesome. Don’t scupper your chances by turning up late. If your interview is at 10am, make sure you’re there and ready to go at 09:50am. Travelling by train? Check the times, then check them again. Get an earlier one if it means you can avoid cutting it fine. If you’re driving, triple-check the route, and bear in mind work traffic and school traffic. GET. THERE. EARLY.

8. Forgetting to put phones on silent.

Pretend you’re getting ready to enter the cinema if you like. Either put your phone on silent, or turn it off completely. Nobody wants to hear Beyoncé coming from your bag during an important interview.

9. Not asking questions at the end of the interview.

Asking questions at the end of the interview is very important for two reasons:
1. It suggests that you’re really enthusiastic about working there.
2. Interviews work two ways – it’s your chance to interview them, too! It needs to be right for the employer, and it needs to be right for you.

Here are some questions you could ask:
– How would you describe the culture of the organisation?
– What are the best and worst things about working here?
– How is the staff turnover?

10. Forgetting to do your research.

Do you know what doesn’t look good? Going into an interview knowing nothing about the role and the organisation you’re applying to. Use the days before-hand to read up. Google, read the company website, check their social media channels, speak to people who work in the same industry. There’s a world of information out there, you just need to look. Showing that you’ve done your research will look really impressive.