If your CV and cover letter have been impressive enough to get you an interview, the job could be yours – provided you perform well at the interview. Even the most seasoned professional can get flustered and spoil their chances. With a little preparation, you can avoid falling foul of these 15 common interview mistakes:

1. Not doing your research

You might have the skills to do the job, but do you know the how the company operates? Check the ‘About Us’ link on the company website and read their mission statement. Find out who the competition and major players in the market are.

2. Turning up late

Unless you have a very good excuse and ring ahead to rearrange, turning up late for an appointment will not endear you to any employer. In fact, it’s best to get there 10 minutes early, just to be safe.

3. Dressing inappropriately

While smart casual might be the current trend, professional attire is still proper business etiquette for interviews. It’s all about first impressions.

4. Fidgeting with unnecessary props

This can include mobile phones, nail files and chewing gum. They all have one thing in common – they don’t belong at any interview table.

5. Poor body language

Eye contact, good posture, a cheerful demeanour and firm handshake will get you a long way in an interview.

6. Unclear answers and rambling

Take time to think before you answer questions and avoid bumbling to an uncomfortable halt; it doesn’t inspire confidence. Also, don’t mumble. The interviewer doesn’t want to have to ask you to repeat an answer or strain to hear what you’re saying. If need be, practice a few questions with a friend or into a recording app on your phone to hear how you sound.

7. Speaking negatively about your current employer

Never complain about your current employer, no matter how despotic or ineffectual they are. Badmouthing won’t reflect well on you.

8. Failing to ask questions

Employers want to see you’re interested enough to hear more about the position and company and will look kindly on any well-placed questions.

9. Lying on your CV

Anything written on your CV could be discussed at an interview and a fabrication about your work or educational record could damage your chances if you’re put on the spot. Be honest from the start, through to the end of the interview.

10. Getting personal or too familiar

While friendliness and a bit of appropriate humour never hurts, you want to avoid anything that’s too casual. Remember, your interviewer could become your manager, so behave in a friendly but respectful manner. Avoid personal stories that don’t relate to the job at hand and be courteous at all times.

11.   Not bringing along additional CVs

If you’re unsure how many people will be interviewing you, bring along surplus copies of your CV to hand out. It will show that you’re highly prepared.

12.   Sitting down before invited

It’s common courtesy to wait until you’re shown a seat to sit down. Avoid slouching or putting your feet anywhere but firmly on the ground.

13.   Discussing money or time off

Unless an offer is put on the table it’s not recommended that you discuss money or future working and holiday arrangements.

14.   Cursing

This might seem like a no-brainer, but watching your language is of utmost importance. Using foul and inappropriate language is generally not acceptable at any time in the workplace – so at an interview it won’t win you any accolades.

15.   Not following up

You might not think you’ve performed well in an interview, but a simple email reiterating your interest is a courtesy that might just pay off.

Need to brush up on your interview skills? Contact your Page Personnel recruitment consultant today.


Some actions during a job interview can be serious deal breakers for employers when surveying an applicant. These include:

  • Negative or disinterested body language
  • Tardiness
  • Lying on your resume
  • Discussing money too early
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