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Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts

In a lot of job interview situations, the chances are that you will be up against people who are similarly qualified to you, however a lot of the time the difference between candidates will simply be personality traits or often minor mistakes that were made during the interview process. In order to reduce the possibility of your making these rookie mistakes time and again we decided to produce a list of common mistakes that are often made and can lose you valuable credit in the race for that job offer.

You will be amazed how one small thing can significantly decrease your chances of getting that job.

1. Poor Communication and Simple Bad Manners

People often tell us of how candidates continuously chewed gum throughout an interview, were eating sweets both of which are definite interview sins. Another thing to avoid is turning up smelling of smoke, don’t have a cigarette immediately prior to the interview and try to ensure that your clothes are smoke free, stale tobacco smoke can be off-putting in the current anti-smoking climate. 

Make sure that your mobile is switched off, interviewers are notorious for expecting your full undivided attention and even if your phone vibrates quietly in an interview setting this can be considered rude and that you are not serious about the application.

Sit straight in the chair, don’t slouch, the best way to show interest and that you are giving your full attention is to sit in a way that shows you are engaged and prepared, not about to fall asleep.

Ensure that your answers are directed towards the interviewer and not the walls, don’t show that you are nervous, try and maintain eye contact and keep those hands still.

Make sure that you look interested and have an air of confidence without being over-confident.

Always ensure that you fully understand the question being asked before you launch into an answer and don’t waffle be direct and to the point.

2. Portfolio

Should you need to demonstrate examples of your work ensure that the work that you take is all your own and clearly shows the breadth and standard that you are accustomed to working at. The most examples we would expect to see would be 20 but would be happy with 10-12. Ensure that the work is clear, well laid out and highly visible. Don’t swamp it with personal logos or contact details.

Ensure that you have either hard copies or take the work on a memory stick, don’t rely on the internet being available.

3. Interview Preparation

The golden rule is that you must not arrive late. Whilst we all appreciate that anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong you need to plan to eradicate most difficulties that could arise.

Get a route sorted for the journey beforehand without needing to use your Sat Nav. Consider having a dummy run the week before take account of the time of day and the likely travel congestion that might occur at the time. Take account of things like road works and rush hour traffic. If having taken all these precautions, you find that you are still running late then phone ahead at the earliest possible opportunity. It’s better to warn them that you might be late and turn up on time than phone when you are expected to have arrived and say that you will be an hour late.

Ensure that you research the company and the sector thoroughly. Investigate the Job role and look at where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Being able to show that you have knowledge of these areas will show your level of interest and indicate your level of seriousness about the application

Dress appropriately for the interview. If the company is less formal, then they may well expect you to dress in clothes that you feel comfortable in. whereas if you turn up in casual attire to find that your interviewer is smartly dressed in a suit it doesn’t give the right image. If you are unsure then it is always possible to enquire of the receptionist beforehand what people who are attending for interview usually wear. It’s important to look the part.


4. Being Negative

It might sound obvious, but you should try and maintain a positive outlook throughout the interview, it’s not going to help your cause if you’re negative about anything. If there are things that you aren’t happy with at your current job, think Do they really need to be shared? What does it say about you?

If you are describing an event or an occasion when something went wrong, try and describe your role in rectifying the issue rather than apportioning blame on others who caused the issue.

Don’t agree to a date for an interview and then try to change it. The Interviewer might have a schedule of interviews to conduct and may have ranked them in a preference if you are changing this order you don’t appear professional.

5. General Don’ts

Leave it to the Interviewer to mention Salary. Don’t jump the gun. Have a salary in mind but let them open the negotiation.

Don’t ask what time everyone leaves work; this doesn’t show commitment and can give the impression of being uncaring.

Don’t explain childcare issues, they want to employ you not your family.

Don’t mention other interviews that you have upcoming, this will only give the impression that you are not fully committed to the job which you are applying for.

Always remember that preparation is the key and the more prepared that you are the better impression you will give; you will also appear less nervous and more constructive when discussing the role and the opportunities. Small things will make a difference at the end of the day and it’s up to you to manage the mistakes and promote yourself.

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