Things you should never do at an interview

Firstly, if you’ve got an interview for a job that you want, congratulations! Your CV has clearly demonstrated to the employers that you have the skills and experience for the job, now you just have to prove that you’ve got the right personality for it too. A lot of people will be giving you tips and advice on what to during the interview but the most important things you must remember are the things you should never do…

Let’s begin.

Whatever you do, the most important number one thing to avoid is being late. This is the biggest no-no in any interview rule book and without even opening their mouth, a late candidate will immediately be viewed by the interviewers as unreliable and unorganised. Luckily, this isn’t hard to avoid. Plan your route in advance and always factor in extra time for delays. If you do get there too early, relax and grab a cup of tea somewhere nearby. This extra time will also help you collect your thoughts and relax slightly, enabling you to walk into the room calm, collected and most of all, punctual. 

Secondly, some rules about mannerisms and personality. All your friends and family will no doubt be telling you to relax and to be yourself and this is very good advice, unless ‘being yourself’ involves being rude, disinterested and arrogant. As I have already mentioned, the employers are already aware of your skills listed on your CV and thus most interviews are there to ascertain what kind of person you are. Therefore, the way you conduct yourself and your body language should not be neglected. Do not slouch, yawn, glance at your watch, check your phone (on this note, please, please have your phone off or on silent!) or refuse to make eye-contact at any point during the interview. This will make you seem bored or unengaged. On the contrary, sit up straight, smile and be an active listener as well as being eager with your responses. Employers want someone who can turn up to work every day engaged and enthusiastic, and if you can’t manage this for one interview, it is not going to look promising.

Following on from this, one of the main things people forget in an interview is that despite its formal setting, it is still a conversation. This makes listening as imperative as speaking and even if you have an answer already prepared, wait until it is your turn to speak before answering. Interrupting will make you come across arrogant, another no-no in the world of successful interviewers. Pretending you know things when you don’t will also make you look arrogant (and you’ll be very embarrassed when they eventually realise you can’t use photoshop, which they will find out). Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something, instead prove that you are someone who is willing and able to learn quickly. Lying is never an option. 

So now you know never to be late, to smile and not look disinterested or bored, to be confident without coming across as arrogant; what else could go wrong? Well, if you’ve taken into account your body language, time management and conversation etiquette then the last thing to consider is what you actually say. 

Remember, an interview is primarily a personality test, and no one will respond well to negativity. Therefore, no matter how much you hated your last job, if you did, do not complain about it. If questioned about it, always spin a negative experience into something positive that you’ve learnt from. This will make you seem like someone who is open-minded and can work through their problems. Another topic of conversation to avoid is money. Yes, maybe the salary is one of the reasons you’ve applied for the job but please, do not let that become evident! Employers do not want someone who is there just to take their money; they are looking to hire someone who has a genuine passion for the job and for the company. 

The best way to demonstrate the passion they are looking for is by not forgetting to do your research. Yes, this interview is about you, but it is also about the company. A lot of people stay too focused on selling themselves, rather than selling themselves to the company. Why are you the best person for them? Why will you fit in well on their team? Try and tailor as many of your answers as possible to their needs and objectives. Do your research, make sure you know the ethos and workings of the company, and give this some careful consideration before the interview. 

It may seem like a lot to remember on paper, but most of it will come down to common sense. Just try and put yourself if your interviewers’ shoes: what kind of person would be your ideal candidate? Who would make a workplace enjoyable and productive? As long as you think about things from their point of view, you will be absolutely fine. 

Phew! That’s a wrap. Good luck! 

Post by Gabrielle Morris