Candidate advice – top three interview mistakes and how to avoid them

Candidate advice – top three interview mistakes and how to avoid them

We asked, and our client’s answered!

We asked our clients, ‘as a hiring manager, what is the number one mistake candidates make at interview stage?”

The results are in, and we bring you the top three interview mistakes directly from our clients, and what you can do to ensure you avoid them.

  1. Criticising Previous Employers

This answer came in third, with 11% of the vote. Criticising your previous company or speaking negatively about your last manager can raise red flags for an interviewer – they may be thinking, is this person a naturally negative person, are they a complainer, could they have taken accountability and done more to address the matter?

Tackle the issue head on:

  1. Why you are leaving your role or left your last position is a question that is guaranteed to come up, so prepare for the question.
  2. Go through your CV and prepare explanations for each career move.
  3. If your experience was truly negative, can you spin your explanation into a positive about how you have grown from the experience, the skills you gained and the challenges you overcame?
  4. Turn it around; tell them why the opportunity and company you are interviewing for is so attractive and exciting for you.
  1. Lacking Evidence

15% of clients said a lack of evidence in answers was the number one mistake candidates made at interview. There is a difference between explaining what you were responsible for vs what you achieved – and the same can be said for your CV. So often, candidates list what they were responsible for in a role rather than quantifying their accomplishments with facts and figures, demonstrating the value they generated and therefor the value they could bring to their future role.

“For those meeting with leadership, lack of specific examples is a primary reason they don’t receive an offer”, Talent Acquisition Manager.

Prepare your answers:

  1. Looking back through your CV and career history, consider your biggest achievements in each role and prepare explanations which include facts and figures – value generated, money saved, deals won etc
  2. Read through the job description and prepare examples of experience which relate to each point. Rather than ‘Yes I have done that’, you can say ‘Yes, here is how I did it…’
  3. Prepare for competency based interview questions – these require real life examples in your answers.
  1. Being Underprepared

The top response from clients, with over 68% of the vote and number one in interview mistakes was being unprepared. Whether that be not researching the company, the role, or the interviewers, or generally being unprepared for the questions being asked.

“Interviews are a two-way opportunity for both parties to learn about each other – hiring managers do the prep so at the very least, interviewees should too. We often find that candidates that stand out and get the job aren’t always the most qualified but are the ones that make the effort to prepare, exhibit enthusiasm and a positive attitude, and are a strong culture fit for the business”, UK Director.

A winning effort begins with preparation:

  • Research the company using the website, Google, news articles, anything you can find! Consider not only the company profile but also their history, competitors, values, and goals.
  • Research your interviewers – look at their profiles on the website, check their LinkedIn, and look at their career history.
  • Research the industry and the clients/assets/product/business line you will be responsible for.
  • Prepare to give answers backed up by evidence.
  • Prepare to explain your reasons for leaving.
  • Prepare to answer, ‘Why this job?’

We hope you found this post on interview mistakes informative and helpful.

Good luck with your interview!

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