Career advice

Six things to avoid in an interview

This might be the first time you’ve interviewed for a job – why not start as you mean to go on? Making a good impression on the interviewer is usually the difference between being considered for the role and being cut out of the process. 
So, greeting your interviewer with the wrong name or mentioning the wrong company are both ways of ensuring you won’t get off to a flying start.
Aside from the obvious, such as arriving on time, being appropriately dressed and not using slang or profanities; there are a few things to remember during your interview. Your attitude and body language should reflect your interest in the role, the organisation and the interviewer.
Here are six examples of things to avoid in an interview:

1. Leaving your phone on

Always double and triple check that you’ve switched your mobile off, including any alarms that ring out even if you’ve powered down. Worrying you might miss a friend’s call or text does not show your commitment to the interview.

2. Showing a lack of interest in the company

There are no excuses for not conducting any research on the organisation before your interview. You should know their service back to front and be aware of any issues that their industry might be facing.

3. Saying you have no weaknesses

Telling your interviewer you have no weaknesses is practically the same as saying you’re perfect. Chances are you’re not. This question will almost certainly come up, so prepare an answer beforehand that puts a positive spin on your weakness or mention a weakness that doesn’t relate to the role.

4. Asking for time off

The interview is not the time to discuss this. If you have a holiday booked or an important event to attend you can bring this up as part of your negotiations if an offer is made.

5. “How long will it be before I’m promoted/given a pay rise?”

You might sound like you’re expecting to be rewarded for doing very little work and that you don’t regard the role you’re interviewing for very highly, if you ask this question. If you’re interviewing for a graduate scheme, you could ask what the duration of the scheme is and this should give you an idea of progression timelines. 

6. Not asking any relevant questions at the end

Part of your interview preparation should have been deciding what you wanted to know about the role or organisation that might not come up in the interview. Even if your questions have already been covered, asking the interviewer to clarify or go into more detail will show your interest.
Topics of conversation to avoid (unless interviewing for a related post) include discussing your religious and political affiliations. Your interviewer might find it inappropriate, or worse offensive. Use your common sense and be respectful during your interview. You should be able to avoid any mistakes.