Interview mistakes no-one should make – yet do

We all make mistakes, people who love us forgive us. But mistakes irritate strangers, and interviewers in particular do not have any reason to forgive.

An interview is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and capabilities, showing that you are incapable is a sure way not to get hired. Take some basic precautions to avoid following these recent examples.

Arriving on the wrong day

A candidate arrived for his job interview a full week early. He said he thought he might have got the date wrong but as he had deleted the email inviting him and not written it down anywhere he thought he would turn up anyway to be on the safe side.

Early is better than late, at least he didn’t miss his interview but he did show himself to be disorganised which was not a good first impression to make.

Precautions to avoid this mistake

  • Save any and all correspondence related to your job hunting.
  • Note interview dates and times in more than one place. Using your phone as an organiser is great but it’s worth writing important dates down too, just in case your phone breaks, runs out of charge, gets lost or stolen.

Incomplete location details

A prospective student came to the Careers Service looking for her degree entry interview. She had the University postcode for the satnav, but she had not brought the name of the person who was supposed to interview her, or the details of the room or building where the interview was due to take place.

Precautions to avoid this mistake

  • Print and take along all instructions you are sent.
  • Check that you not only have the full address but also directions to anywhere you are unfamiliar with. Map apps are really helpful on the move but it is worth having a paper map as a backup, in case of technical failure.
  • You should take with you the name, job title and contact details of the interviewer plus a general phone number for the company in case you encounter serious difficulties en route and need to inform them.

Forgetting the details of the job you applied for

A graduate gets shortlisted for a job, they look at the company website or job site to refresh their memory of the job details and find it has been removed. This one happens all the time, some graduates even forget which companies they have applied to!

Precautions to avoid this mistake.

  • Organise your files, both electronic and paper.
  • Save the job description and copy of your final application into folders clearly labelled with job title and organisation name. If online application systems do not permit you to save a copy of your form cut and paste the information into a Word file.
  • It is useful to create a document for each job you apply for, so that you don’t get mixed up.
    Note: where you saw the vacancy, date applied, date by which you should hear back if shortlisted (if known), and details of any correspondence/phone calls that you have with the organisation (date, time, name of contact, what was discussed).

All Graduate

Elizabeth View All →

Careers Manager (Postgraduate) at the University of Manchester, UK

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