Fix These Interview Mistakes Before They Happen!
Fix These Interview Mistakes Before They Happen!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see into the future?

Imagine knowing instantly whether that job you’re applying to would be your dream job…

Or whether that recruiter is going to get back to you with a job offer — or not get back to you at all…

Or if your interviewer was going to be holding your resume in their hand when they finally announce their choice for the best candidate…

While you may not be able to predict everything about your job search, there are a lot of indicators that things are going well or not well. And in today’s article, we’re going to look at some of the ways your interview might go not-so-well, so we can change your future for the better!

Not Choosing the Right Outfit

The expression “dress for the job you want” isn’t entirely true.

When it comes to interviews, you should always dress at least a bit more formal than the job might normally call for. Ultimately, just like your individual clothing items should match each other, you need to match your outfit to the situation.

That means if it’s a suit-and-tie office, you should wear business formal. Don’t go above and beyond and wear something as formal as a tuxedo, but don’t fall short on expectations and show up in ripped jeans and sandals.

Likewise, if you were applying to be a garbage collector you don’t need to show up in overalls and heavy boots. Business casual should be enough.

Not Doing Your Research Beforehand

This is a faux pas for several reasons.

First of all, not knowing what you’re applying for is just plain bad business for your career. While it’s typical to not know all the specifics of a job before an interview, you should have a solid idea of what the company does, who their clients are, what their brand persona and company culture looks like, etc. These can save you time from applying to jobs that don’t suit you.

Being informed also helps inform your answers to popular interview questions. You can’t anywhere “why do you want to work here?” if you don’t even know what kind of work they do here.

Finally, it sends red flags to your recruiters when you don’t know anything about their business. It shows you lack awareness, as well as a genuine interest in their company.

Not Putting Your Phone Away

Just like going to the movies, always silence your devices before the show starts!

When you arrive at an interview, and are waiting in a lobby for example, you should avoid the temptation to browse your phone for distractions. Keep yourself focused and read over your resume, or rehearse your interview answers in your head. Remember, the interview really begins as soon as you walk in the building.

And of course, don’t answer any texts or messages once you meet your interviewer. The last thing you’d want to do is get a call from another recruiter mid-conversation!

Not Being Punctual

They say “if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late” and when it comes to interviews, that’s the honest truth.

Your interview is your first impression on a potential employer — but it’s also the only one they’ll have when considering your application. That means even if being late is not a common occurrence for you, if you’re not on time this time they’ll think that’s how you act 100% of the time — AND that you don’t respect their time.

It’s also worth noting that punctual means on-time, not just early. Arriving 5-10 early is reasonable and a good window in case they’re ready to see you sooner. But anything more than that (15, 30, 60+ minutes early) can make things increasingly awkward as you wait to be seen. If you happen to get to your interview early, wait outside the building instead of the lobby.

Not Staying On Track

Remember, you’re there for one purpose on one purpose only: proving why you’re the best candidate for the job you’re applying for.

Sometimes, our nerves can cause us to go on too long about unrelated topics, or to spend too long re-explaining something we’ve just said. But it’s important to keep your focus on the conversation at hand.

This extends to making sure you get the right amount of food, water, and sleep before your interview. Because fatigue can quickly cause us to lose focus, or space out in the middle of an important interview.

Not Knowing Your Own Resume

You might have written and rewritten your resume dozens of times during your job search. But you should review it before each interview to make sure what you say lines up with what they see.

The easiest way to avoid this blunder is to bring a copy of your resume with you! Look it over as you wait for your interview to begin. And bring extra copies for everyone participating in the meeting.

Not Keeping It Brief

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But when it comes to words, less is more.

When answering questions at your interview, keep your answers brief and succinct. You want to say what you need to say and then be silent while they consider what you’ve said.

We have a tendency as humans to feel uncomfortable in silences, especially ones we feel we’ve created. But if you can summarize your replies and not keep adding to your answers or paraphrasing yourself over and over, you’ll come across as more confident.

Badmouthing Old Bosses

During your interview, your recruiter will ask about your past experience so they can get a better idea of what the experience of working with you would be like.

Don’t give them the wrong idea by complaining about all the things old employers did wrong. Even if those were negative experiences for you, you don’t want to give the impression that working with you is always a negative experience. 

Instead, try to find a positive spin and look for the silver linings. And if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Not Asking Questions of Your Own

At the end of most interviews, your recruiter will turn the floor over to you and give you a chance to ask any questions you might have. 

Some job seekers make the mistake of thinking that this means the interview is over, and leave it at that. But the truth is, this is one more opportunity for you to make a good impression by asking the right questions!

You shouldn’t ask anything personal. You also shouldn’t ask anything that the job posting or a quick google search would tell you. Instead, you should ask about the company culture, or what an average day looks like in this role — or anything that shows you’re genuinely interested in the position and the company itself.

Of course, this is also your chance to clear up any specifics that haven’t been answered yet, like start date, hours/schedule, etc. But don’t just focus on the details, show them you’re interested in the big picture.

Not Sending a Follow-Up

Sending a follow-up helps solidify your standing in the mind of your recruiter.

It also ensures they have your contact information, and reminds them that the lines of communication are open. 

Send a brief follow-up with a thank you within 24 hours of your interview. Try to mention something specific about the interview that you enjoyed, like an interesting fact about the company you may have learned, or something you and the recruiter found you had in common.


You know what’s never a mistake? Getting professional help with your professional career!

Talk to ReStart today for free resources, including interview coaching, and let’s find out what the future holds for you!