Common Interview Mistakes

10 Common Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You The Job

User Profile
By Jason Okun

Recruitment Manager

You’ve made it past the resume selection process and on to the interview phase of the hiring process—the most stressful part of a job search. Unfortunately, too many job candidates squander their interview opportunity in one—or more—of ten ways. Minimize the chance of making a mistake during your interview by avoiding the pitfalls provided below.

  1. Arriving late or too early: No matter how impressive your background and resume are, it’s extremely difficult to rebound from being late to an in-person or video interview. When you show up late for your interview, it makes a potential employer think that you are unreliable and unable to meet deadlines. Being too early, you may be interrupting the hiring manager’s work and being an annoyance. Aim to be 5 to 10 minutes early for your interview.
  2. Dressing inappropriately: In a job interview, you’re selling your best self and striving to make a good first impression. If you offend the interviewer with your choice of attire, you are much less likely to stand out as the top candidate. 33 percent of hiring managers report that they know whether or not they will hire a candidate in the first 90 seconds of an interview. By ensuring you make a positive first impression, the focus of the interview will be on your ability and skills—not your appearance.  When in doubt, it’s always best to overdress than underdress for an interview.
  3. Poor body language: You may think that you coming off as confident and capable in your answers but your body language could be sending a different message. 93 percent of what we convey to others is through non-verbal cues (55 percent) and tone of voice (38 percent)—not words. Avoid crossing your arms, leaning back in your seat, and fidgeting. Greet the hiring manager with a firm handshake and ensure that your gestures, facial expression, and posture match your words. If it’s a video interview, be sure to smile.
  4. Failing to do your homework: A common interview question is, “What do you know about our company?” If you haven’t taken the time to research the company using its website and social media platforms, you won’t be prepared to respond to one of the easiest interview questions typically asked. Know the organization’s history, key leaders, competitors, customers, culture, and job specifics. Check out the LinkedIn profile of the person interviewing you. How long has he or she been with the company? LinkedIn will show that you have viewed his or her profile and did research in preparation for your interview. The time you spend preparing will boost your chance of landing the job.
  5. Being unprepared to answer questions: Throughout life, if you don’t prepare for a sports game, meeting, or presentation, it’s more than likely to not go well. The same is true with an interview. If you don’t take the time to prepare ahead, you are going to have difficulty expressing your career moves and motives. Be prepared to go step by step through your career progression, including your reasons for moving from role to role. Take time to review questions to expect and how to answer them.
  6. Talking too much or rambling: The best interviews are interactive exchanges between the candidate and the interviewer. By talking too much, the interviewer’s attention span will wane and he or she will not have time to ask the questions needed to get a good feel for the candidate’s skills and ability. At the end of the interview, the hiring manager may conclude that the interviewee has unorganized thinking and cannot get to the point. Interview Genie has concluded that the right length of time for a question response is 30 seconds to 2 minutes for basic interview questions and up to 3 to 3.5 minutes for behavioral questions
  7. Talking negatively about former employers: In life—when you speak negatively about a person— it reflects more poorly on you than it does on the other person. In an interview, you should never speak badly or complain about your previous job, manager, or co-workers. Communicate your past experiences as positive learning opportunities and lessons. Instead of stating that your previous manager micromanaged you and wouldn’t let you work from home, say that you’re looking for a position with a more flexible schedule that will allow to you work both from home and in the office.
  8. Checking your phone: When it comes to cell phone etiquette during a job interview, there’s one thing to remember—turn off your cell phone. A JazzHR survey of more than 500 hiring professionals found that 90 percent would disqualify a candidate if they simply touched their phone. Before walking into the building to meet the recruiter or touching the click here to join meeting link when interviewing virtually, turn your cell phone off.
  9. Being dishonest in any way: According to award-winning social psychologist Ron Friedman, 81 percent of people lie during their job interview. Recruiters and hiring managers have years of experience interviewing job candidates and are trained to spot dishonesty. Avoid lying, exaggerating, or inflating your experience to sound more experienced. If you’re not a good liar, the interviewer may pick up on it immediately. During the interview, you may get away with stretching the truth if you’re a good liar, but you could risk losing your job later on once the lies are unearthed.
  10. Failing to ask questions: When the hiring manager gives you time to ask questions at the end of the interview and you have none, the interview can deteriorate quickly. Not having questions prepared indicates a lack of interest and enthusiasm for the employer and position. If you have researched the company and prepared for the interview, you should have more questions than there is time to ask.


First impressions do matter. It’s essential that you use the job interview to showcase your best qualities and ensure that you’re memorable for all the right reasons. Prepare, look the part, and deliver your answers clearly and confidently to avoid making these 10 common interview blunders.

For our comprehensive guide and additional tips, click here.

To read more job seeker and interview tips, click here.

Connect with Jason Okun on LinkedIn.

Master your next interview.