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What not to do in an interview

Posted by
01 Jun 2015
We have all been there, sweaty palms and a nervous stutter. Interviews can be a damaging experience if you feel they didn't go well - coming up with all those perfect answers that you should have, would have and could have said once you've left the room. Here are some tips on what not to do in an interview, to hopefully help with that feeling and to ensure you do everything right the first time.

1.    Firstly don't be sloppy, dress smart. It is important to look like you mean business. Not only does it make you appear like you are serious about the opportunity, it can also help with your confidence. If you feel like you're dressed for the part, you may come across more confident and self-assured. No one likes to be the most underdressed for the party do they?  Apply this to the language you use when in an interview as well - slang will not be appreciated, make sure you use a variety of vocabulary and highlight your communication skills in the process.

2.   
Don't turn up late. This is the worst impression you can give any prospective employer on the first time of meeting you and can be avoided by leaving contingency for any heavy traffic or buses not turning up. Perhaps do a practice run of the route you are going to take so it is familiar and you know exactly how long it takes to get there (sometimes you can't just rely on Google!). Furthermore, if you do turn up late it is likely you will be more anxious and you may appear to be dishevelled or windswept, again this is not the best first impression.

3.    Don't be rude. When you do arrive make sure you are polite and engaging when in reception. Remember they are the eyes and ears of the company/department and if you are rude or dismissive at this stage, be sure this information will get back to someone. It pays to be nice to everyone and anyone you see whilst in the building- treat everyone equally and with respect!

4.    Don't forget to research the company; fail to plan, plan to fail.
You can impress employers with fantastic answers about your experience, teamwork mentality and how you coped in a high pressured environment, but if you know nothing about the company you are interviewing for, you will fall short of the mark. This is the most important part of interview prep as it will show your enthusiasm and dedication to the opportunity. Whilst you're not expected to know every single detail of the company's history, or the role of every employee some key facts such as what the company actually does, where their headquarters are based, how many offices they have, size of the workforce and turnover are all very useful to add into your answers and demonstrate your knowledge.

5.    Don't pass up the opportunity to ask questions.
This one is very important, "do you have any questions?” is a test in itself. If you don't ask questions you are not interested in the role/company and that is a telling sign. Even if you answer simply with "I was going to ask about the size of the team and who I would directly report to within that, however you have already answered that within the interview”. This proves you have prepared questions and gives you a chance to show this off, even if the information was mentioned by the interviewer. If there has been anything in the news about the company this can be a good talking point (unless it is extremely negative, best not), alongside questions about the companies development, potential expansion and direction going forward.

6.    Don't mention any criminal convictions. This may be obvious but just don't do it. If you have shoplifted, that doesn't make a good interview anecdote. If you were involved in a drunken brawl, this doesn't make the best STAR based answer: Situation: drunk man, task: to deal with him, action: punched him, result: he ended up on the floor and I was arrested.

7.    Similarly, don't mention any fall outs from previous employment. An interview for a new role is not a chance for you to speak ill of a previous or indeed current employer, whether you disagree with their management style or how much they pay you - an interview is not a time to vent this. Furthermore it may give the impression you would speak badly of managers if you joined their team, they are more often than not looking for someone who will get on well with others, not ruffle feathers. 

8.    Lastly, don't discuss time off or salary.
You are going to the interview because you are interested in the role. Sure people want to know any additional benefits such as how many days annual leave you get, or whether you are going to get a pay rise. However these are things to be discussed further down the line - you can use your short interview time to discuss the aforementioned topics like your role within the team or the specifics of the role itself, and these will be far more valuable ultimately to making the decision whether the role is for you, and from the employers perspective, whether you are for them. After all it is these 'everyday' elements of your work life that you enjoy or not.  

Hopefully these tips help you have a more successful interview next time round. 

If you're looking for further interview tips and tricks, why not contact us for a confidential chat on 0161 834 1642.

Tagged In: Careers, Finance, Graduate
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