7 things you should always avoid doing at an interview

There are plenty of ways you could ruin your chances of securing a sought-after job role. It’s important to remember the little things that could easily go wrong and try to avoid them as opposed to constantly focusing on making sure you get everything right.

Let’s face it, the worst thing that can happen in an interview is when it takes an awkward turn, so here are a few things that you shouldn’t do in an interview and how to steer clear of them.

1: Using your phone

There’s nothing worse than when your phone goes off in a private or quiet place like cinemas, churches or a job interview. Especially if you have a particularly embarrassing or offensive ringtone. Even worse than a loud, distracting ringtone or message alert, is proceeding to answer that message or call.

Its rude and it shows you have no interest in the job whatsoever. This one is an easy one; don’t bring your phone into the building with you, or at least turn it off or keep it on silent.

2: Asking generic questions

What are the hours like? How much holiday do I get? Asking basic questions or none at all shows that you haven’t really thought about the job role and what it entails, it also shows, much like a few of these examples, that you’re not interested in the job.

Avoid using yes or no questions as it could come off as you don’t really understand the job. Show off your level of knowledge by asking specific questions about things relating to the job such as; on-the-job duties, the organisation or the style of management they use.

3: Forget to listen

Always remember to listen! If you’re prone to daydreaming, slap yourself out of it before going in. It’s vital that you wait your turn to speak and not interrupt the interviewer as it comes off as rude. It’s good if you show enthusiasm but only do it once the interviewer has finished talking.

Sit patiently, listen to what they’re saying and prepare your answer in your head. This shows that your engaged in the interview and you have a clear understanding of the role in question.

4: Using poor body language

Body language can say a lot about you as a person. If you’re slouching in your chair, yawning, fidgeting or looking like you’d rather be in bed, then you’re not going to give off the best first impression, are you?

Stay focused throughout, as acting disinterested, bored or showing no enthusiasm towards the job will give the employer every reason to find someone else that will show a little more interest in the job role.

Basically, don’t do anything that implies a single ounce of boredom and you’ll be fine.

5: Moaning about a previous/current employer or colleague

It’s best to not voice all your negative opinions about your previous boss in front of your potential new one. All the interviewer will be thinking is this must be what it’s like to work with you. No matter how relaxing or fun it is to slate your last boss, try to be as positive as possible, as constantly spouting negative comments could decrease your chances of getting hired.

Same goes for past colleagues as well, your new employer wants to see you as a team player, not someone who easily holds a grudge. If you realise you’ve broken this rule, just apologise and explain what you “meant” to say.

6: Focusing on the money

I want the job because it’s a great opportunity, it will give me good experience, it’ll provide me with good life skills. All of these could be true but most of the time it’s money you want.

Never has the answer “I need the money” worked in an interview. You should want the job because it interests you, you enjoy doing it or you think your skill set will benefit the company. These are the answers employers want to hear and they are more likely to consider hiring you if give them what they want.

I’d avoid using the M word at all, unless they ask you your thoughts on the salary, then you should be realistic and sensible with your answer.

7: Being rude

Lots of things can be classed as rude, making no eye contact, poor body language or disinterested behaviour. Just because you don’t think you’re being rude doesn’t mean your employer does. Following up a questionably rude moment with something like “how was that rude” could hurt your chances. Just apologise and move on.

You should avoid cracking jokes that could be seen as offensive or trying to be too “buddy-buddy” with your interviewer, remember you’re not down the pub with them you’re in a professional environment, so act like it.

Just be friendly and polite the whole time, as you don’t know who could influence their decision, it could be that receptionist you just tried to arrogantly chat up or that junior staff member you just condescended.

Avoiding these classic mistakes could result in a much smoother and successful interview with an increased chance of employment at the end of it.