We asked our recruitment experts for some feedback on common interview blunders and bad habits, and here our National Recruitment Leader, Sonja Moxham, gives us 7 of the biggest mistakes, and her tips on how to overcome them to put your best foot forward.
1. Not checking the dress code
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so take the time to check the dress code for the interview if you are unsure. Make sure your clothing is neat, clean and ironed, and dress in a way that is appropriate for the job you are applying for. 'Turning up in thongs and shorts is not appropriate', says Sonja.
If your tie is too tight, or your heels too high, and you’re uncomfortable, it will show, so dress comfortably so you can act and look your best during the interview.
2. Being unprepared
‘Obvious lack of preparation is an opportunity crusher. If the recruiter asks for you to do something prior to your interview, do it!’, says Sonja. Showing up to your interview well prepared will not only impress your interviewer, it’ll give you the confidence to answer any tough questions that may come your way.
Bring along a copy of your resume, have a good recall of your skills and abilities, and have some examples from prior experiences ready for when you are asked. Do you have an example of how you were able to showcase your ability to work under pressure to deliver a great result? Run through some practice questions with a friend to help you be better prepared for your interview, so you can tackle it head on!
3. Appearing uninterested
‘Every company is looking for someone that is excited and interested in both the company and the role’, says Sonja. Showing enthusiasm during an interview says that you’re interested in the opportunity, and eager to learn and step up to new challenges. Engage with the interviewer by asking questions, and demonstrate your interest in the job and building a career with the company.
Experience can be gained through training, but our experts say enthusiasm is crucial and can put you ahead of a more qualified person who appears unmotivated and uninterested. Give the right impression from the start by showing up on time and switching off your phone.
4. Poor body language
Your body language will speak loud and clear long before you even open your mouth, so make sure you are sending the right messages, starting with a smile and good posture. Use open body language, sitting up tall with uncrossed arms and legs to show that you’re listening and engaged. Making eye contact and having your hands visible during the interview signals trust, and using natural and appropriate hand gestures can help emphasize your message. But if you tend to get nervous, fold your hands loosely to avoid fidgeting and keep them under control!
‘If you never smile and avoid eye contact with the interviewer, you'll come across as too shy or simply not interested’, says Sonja.
5. Lacking in confidence
‘Interviews can be nerve-wracking, however try not to overthink things and make yourself too nervous’, says Sonja. The interview is your chance to sell yourself and show why you’d be the best fit for the role. If you don’t believe you are, then why would the employer? Be confident, relax and believe in your abilities without being brash, and let your personality shine through!
6. Treat everyone respectably
Arrive at your interview with a positive attitude, showing kindness to everyone you meet, starting with the receptionist. Group interviews can feel like a competitive environment, but putting others down won’t make you appear more important, so remember to treat the other candidates with respect and consideration. The interviewer wants to see that you’re a good team player, and these people could potentially be your future colleagues! 'If it is a group interview, the recruiters will watch how you interact with others so don't treat anyone as less important', says Sonja.
7. Failing to follow up
So, you’ve survived the interview… what now? Maybe you’ve aced it, or perhaps you’re not so sure. ‘Don't be afraid to follow up 2-3 days after the interview with a phone call. This sort of initiative shows keenness’, says Sonja. Even if you missed out this time, your enthusiasm may help put you in good stead for future opportunities with the same employer, and you can ask for feedback on your interview for ways to improve your approach for next time.
The door of opportunity won't always open unless you do some pushing. Good luck!