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Common Interview Mistakes

February 20, 2018

5 Common Job Interview Mistakes

Common Interview Mistakes

It’s a pattern: Apply to a company, go to the job interview, and get your rejection letter. You’re probably asking yourself: “What did I do wrong?”

From a recruiter standpoint, you might have been able to easily avoid that disappointment and start the job of your dreams. Read our five tips on identifying interview mistakes and how you can do better next time.


1. Dressing Inappropriately


Your interview starts before you get there. It’s more than wearing clean clothes; it’s wearing your best clothes. That old saying “Dress for Success,” is about job interviews! As a rule of thumb, you should dress one step up for the job you’ve applied for. You’re going to make an impression to the recruiter, so it might as well be a good one.

Read about Interview Attire if you need more tips on what to wear.


2. Arriving Late

stopwatch.pngOne of the biggest pet peeves a recruiter has is waiting for an interview to show up. A lot of job seekers seem to think that the company is lucky to be interviewing you, but really, we don’t have to give you the job or even keep our appointment if you don’t show up on time. We likely have several other appointments that day and if you’re late then the rest of our appointments will have to wait. Don’t be the person that causes frustration because you can’t arrive on time.

When you schedule the appointment, make sure to put the time in your calendar. The day of your interview, set an alarm to wake up on time. Plan enough time to get dressed and be at your interview about ten minutes early. Being punctual will make a great first impression!

*Tip: If you have a legitimate reason for being late, call as soon as you can to let them know and ask if they’d like to reschedule if it’s going to throw off their day. The more flexible you can be for your recruiter, the better impression you’ll give.


3. Not paying attention 


One reason recruiters turn down candidates for employment is because they didn’t pay attention during their interview. That sounds obvious, right? But one of the biggest distractions we see during an interview is cell phones.

One of the biggest interview mistakes is using your phone, and yet, we see this happen all the time. Scrolling Facebook or Instagram and checking your email can wait until you leave. 

Another big mistake we see is not staying focused on the interviewers questions. By zoning out while the recruiter is talking, you’re showing them you can’t focus for even a half hour. Why would they trust you to stay focused when you’re on the job and working? Chances are, they typed your rejection letter when you weren’t listening. 

Do you want to show you were engaged in your interview? Try asking some thoughtful questions that show your interest. Read our Interview Question Dos and Don’ts for tips.


4. Being unprepared

list icon.pngNot bringing a resume, not knowing anything about the company, and not preparing answers to standard interview questions are all good ways to get turned down for the job.

Remember, your interview starts before you get there. Plan a day in advance so you can print an updated copy of your resume, research the company website, and plan out what you might say if they ask “What is your biggest weakness?” It doesn’t take much extra time to be prepared, but those who do are much more likely to actually get their dream job. Those who don’t? Well, they’re still looking.

Prepare by reading How to Write a Resume.


5. Talking too much/not enough

Both talking too much and not talking enough can be red flags for the positionsilhouette-3146779_1280.png you’re interviewing for. At an interview, you need to show you can interact with people appropriately. This is more important for some positions than others, but all interviews will judge your ability to listen and process information and then respond in a way that tells them what they want to know.


You can identify and fix these five common interview mistakes BEFORE you go to an interview. Don’t let someone less qualified get the job you want simply because you didn’t put in the effort.

For resume and interview coaching, call any of our offices. 

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

This article (“Article”) is a service made available Priority Staffing Group, Ltd, its partners, affiliates or subsidiaries (“Provider”). This Article provides general information related to the law and is designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. This Article does not provide legal advice and Provider is not a law firm. None of our content writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Provider or any of our representatives.

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