10 things that can get you rejected
The same common mistakes crop up time and time again at interview. Too many jobseekers miss out on their dream job because of a small number of easily avoided blunders. Some of the mistakes that people make at interview are very obvious and others are more subtle. Here is our list of the 10 things that are most likely to see you rejected at the interview stage.
1. Not knowing enough about the job you’re applying for
The key to preventing pre-interview jitters is to prepare yourself thoroughly. We fear what we don’t know and what we can’t control, yet there is so much you can do to plan and prepare for your interview – and the first item on your list should be to thoroughly research the job in question. Not knowing the ins and outs of a job is among the worst blunders you can make in an interview – as is failing to demonstrate to the interviewer how you meet the requirements for the job.
2. Not knowing enough about the organisation you’re applying to
A number of popular interview questions are designed to probe and assess your knowledge of the organisation to which you are applying. An interviewer will expect you to have done your homework. If you’re unprepared and unable to adequately answer these questions then it’s going to be a big, black mark on your application. How can they be sure you really want this job – and that you’re really the right candidate for the job – if you know so little about their organisation?
3. Arriving late
The importance of making appropriate travel arrangements to get to your interview may seem obvious. However, this is frequently a problem for candidates. Being late for an interview – even by only a few minutes – is a very common mistake but it will immediately count against you. It’s also important to arrive early in terms of allowing yourself time to relax and compose yourself.
4. Lacking enthusiasm
While there’s obviously a fine balance here, enthusiasm in an interview is essential – just don’t overdo it! Recruiters often find that the person they are interviewing lacks enthusiasm – and this will naturally count against you. Sometimes it might just be due to nerves and shyness – but don’t let this happen to you. Be enthusiastic – and show it. Confident people inspire confidence in others – if you appear confident that you are able to do the job, the employer is likely to be more inclined to believe that you can – and showing a lack of enthusiasm is generally fatal to your chances of success.
5. Dressing inappropriately
Presentation, Presentation, Presentation. The way you physically present yourself will make an impression on an interviewer before you even have a chance to open your mouth. Present yourself professionally and the interviewer will see you as a professional – but the opposite also applies. Never forget that you are marketing yourself – and the way you present yourself can have an impact on the interviewer almost as powerful as what you actually have to say for yourself.
Presentation can make all the difference between success and failure. Image is everything!
6. Answering the wrong question
It’s actually surprisingly easy for your thoughts to stray elsewhere and for you to fail to properly listen to a question. You’re in a stressful situation and you have a lot on your mind; it’s perfectly possible to get distracted. Interviewers often have to deal with candidates going off at a tangent and giving the answer to a totally different question than the one that was asked. Listen – and engage your brain before opening your mouth!
7. Failing to sell yourself effectively
Far too many candidates fail to sell themselves effectively at interview – giving boring, monosyllabic answers unsupported by any real-life examples. It’s essential for you to think through and create your own answers to potential questions. Wherever possible, try to integrate real-life examples into your answers rather than just speaking hypothetically. Flagging up specific, relevant examples from your own experience is an ideal way of reinforcing your points in the interviewer’s mind.
8. Being a parrot
So many candidates at interview make the mistake of sounding as if they’re reciting from some old-fashioned book on interview technique with a title like 1001 Interview Questions.
Make sure you don’t fall into this trap yourself. This is really important. There are no universally ‘right’ answers to interview questions – just answers that are right for you.
And even if you have prepared and memorised your own answers, you should be careful to make sure that your delivery is natural and doesn’t come across as rehearsed.
9. Being critical of others
Having problems with the boss is the top reason people give (in surveys) for changing jobs. However, you should never say anything negative about either a current or a previous employer. Criticising your current employer is considered one of the top mistakes you can make at interview and will most likely cost you the job regardless of whether or not your criticism is justified. Likewise, you should avoid criticising current or former colleagues.
10. Failing to ask your own questions
Interviews are always a two-way process. Not preparing your own questions for the end of an interview is therefore a common – and significant – interview mistake.
There aren’t many interviews that conclude without the candidate being asked, “Do you have any questions for me/us?” Almost all interviewers will give you a chance to ask questions and you should use this as an opportunity to further demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm. If you don’t then you’ll come across as passive and uninterested.