The 13 most common job interview mistakes

In this post, let me share all 's readers about  The 13 most common job interview mistakes  (source:  careere...

In this post, let me share all 's readers about The 13 most common job interview mistakes (source: If you want to share more career development tips, please leave your comments at the end of this post.

1. Showing off
Despite what you might see on The Apprentice, employers are rarely impressed by outrageous claims or displays of ego.
Make sure all your bragging is justified, says Philip Oldham. "The sort of personality that has done everything everyone else has, and has a story about it, is generally out for glory and doesn't put any effort into the job to achieve it."
According to Quora poster Yishan Wong, whose answer recieved almost 2,000 upvotes, "Showing off is a gamble: if you pull it off, good for you. If not, expect no sympathy."

2. Failing to do your homework
In today's information age, there is absolutely no excuse for knowing nothing about the company you are applying to work for. "This includes at a minimum doing your research on what it is and does, but also having given thought to where it's going and how you would contribute," says Jack Lion Heart.
Wong adds: "For popular consumer internet companies, not having created an account or tried out the product even minimally before coming to interview shows you don't do your homework."
"I've conducted so many interviews where I've asked, 'So what do you think of X?' and the candidate has said, 'I've been meaning to try it'," says serial interviewer Jonathan Lane. "Doesn't help to read the textbook after you've written the exam, folks."
3. Making up answers
Inflating your expertise is a quick way to alienate your interviewer. If you don't know the answer to a question, it's better to be up front about it.
"When asked a question they don't know the answer to, a lot of people try to guess, or try to bullsh*t the interviewer, or start going through facts they know that don't really answer the question," says Jadin Attar. "Don't do that. Just state clearly that you don't know.
"A good interviewer will take that as an opportunity. Maybe if given a related piece of information, you will be able to learn the answer on your own. In many cases, that will demonstrate something about your understanding of the topic beyond what you've read and what your experience has exposed you to. It can demonstrate the ease with which you can learn new information and how you connect concepts."
4. Forgetting your manners
"I once had a candidate who was respectful to all his male interviewers and totally rude to all his female interviewers," says Wong. Equally, directing all your answers to the most important person in the room instead of to the person who asked the question is disrespectful.
Swearing and crass comments are also no-nos. "Making jokes is high risk, low reward, even for the ones that land," claims Amanda Henry. "Especially avoid self-deprecating jokes, or jokes that are designed to 'bro out' with the panel. I'm interviewing potential employees, not potential friends. We can joke around later."
5. Asking no questions
"I have always found it fascinating that so many [interview candidates] never ask me anything," says Pieter D Roussouw. "A job interview not only enables the potential employer to assess your skills and suitability but it also enables the interviewee to assess if this company is in fact a good employer, compatible with your needs."
"At least ask something about what you'll actually be doing and who you'll be doing it with," says Henry. "Job postings very rarely give a sense of what an actual day in the job will feel like."
6. Apologising unnecessarily
This is the quickest way to undermine yourself in front of an employer, according to Steven Mason. He warns that "apologising for yourself, for others, for your answers, for your appearance, for anything" could make you look weak. "Apologise if you accidentally elbow someone in the mouth, not because you don't know the answer to a question or you don't agree with them or anything else outside of basic etiquette. Be who you are. Confidently."
7. A bad handshake
"I won't cancel you outright for a bad handshake, but it doesn't do you any favours," says Henry. "They're simple to learn, and prove that you're deliberate and thoughtful about how you present yourself."
That's not the only hand movement that could count against you. According to Jack Lion Hart, "bring hand wave-y" is also off-putting.
8. Failing to explain what you will bring to the party
According to Ed Weinstein, this problem is particularly true of recent graduates. "They use their cover letter to explain what our position can do for them instead of explaining what they can do for us."
9. Moaning about your current employer
"You're not running from somewhere but to somewhere," says Steve Everhard. "No employer wants to feel that you are joining them because it's better than where you are." Instead, show that you are excited by the opportunities the new firm represents.
10. Using 'yes' or 'no' answers
"What is most impressive is the candidate that expounds on the answer, showing how he understands the material," says Brian Feeny.
11. ...Unless the interviewer requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer
"The most common issue I've had when interviewing people is when they ramble on forever," says Tracey Croughwell Saenz. "It's like they're fishing for the right answer but they've got to tell me everything they did in their last job, whether or not it's relevant to the question.
"I really appreciate when a candidate listens to the question, and answers it thoughtfully and concisely. If you need clarification about the question, definitely ask. But don't try to squeeze in every great thing about yourself when you're asked a specific question."
12. Trite or practiced answers
Beware answers that seem too rehearsed - or that you've pulled straight out of an "idiot's guide to interviews"-style manual.
"If I ask a candidate, "What is your biggest weakness?" and they mention something that's actually a skill like "perfectionism" or "working too hard", it lacks insight and is a feeble attempt to impress," says Esha Krishnaswamy.
13. Dressing sloppily
"I interviewed a candidate for a programmer position years ago," says Frederic Gray. "He came into the interview sporting a scraggly beard, unkempt hair, and a dirty T-shirt. I asked him, 'Is this the outfit you expect to wear at work?' He responded that he expected to get paid for performance, not to be a fashion model (or words to that effect).
"I said that if we ever got a job for a programmer that never had to set foot in the office we would certainly call him back in, then dropped his resume in the trash and thanked him for coming in."


Competency-based interview questions require interviewees to give specific examples of times in which they demonstrated particular skills or attitudes. Generally, these questions require interviewees to describe a problem or situation, the actions they took to handle the problem, and the results of the situation. Such questions allow the employer to quickly evaluate an interviewee’s mindset, and to gauge how the interviewee handles certain situations.

1. Teamwork interview questions:

Now onto the more generic skills, such as your ability to work in a team. No matter how big or small the team is, the hiring manager will want to know that you can develop a strong working relationship with them, as this is essential for productivity and achieving company goals. You may be asked something like the below in order to test if you are a strong team player:

Question: Give an example of team leading in past employment

Answer: You should summarise the task and nature of the group but focus primarily upon your role as team leader. List the personal qualities you possess which made you ideal for leading this team and how you achieved success. Conclude your answer by giving examples of the lessons you learnt while leading this team.

2. Communications skills interview questions:

Your ability to communicate effectively and influence others to act in support of your own and team goals will be examined. An ability to adapt your communication methods depending on situations and individuals is important here.

Question: Provide an example of how you explained a technical concept to a client or co-worker lacking your technical expertise.

How to Answer: Competency based interview questions are meant to determine how well you communicate with others, including your ability to simplify difficult concept. The customer service question about negative feedback is meant to determine whether or not you’re capable of dealing with customer comments that aren’t all that positive in a courteous, constructive manner. With a few of your examples, briefly discuss what you learned from those interactions.

3. Decision making interview questions:

Decision making is a skill that requires the ability to process information and filter this information to ensure you produce a sound and valid decision. You should be able to provide examples of situations where this skill has been tested. Use examples where an obvious answer is not immediately apparent.

Question: Can you tell me about a time when you consulted others when making important project decisions?

How to Answer: You’ll notice that interviewers tend to want specific examples to illustrate your abilities. It’s not unusual for questions to be fairly complex in nature, often involving multiple, related parts. Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, answer questions one point at at time by providing relevant, easy to digest examples. If you forget the rest of the question, politely ask the interviewer to repeat it.

4. Drive for results interview questions:

This competency assesses your personal motivation and how you approach challenges.

Question: What is your biggest achievement?

Answer: Ideally, use a work-related example to illustrate your key career achievement. Highlight exactly why you consider it important, with details of the role you played. If your biggest achievement in life is related to your personal life, use commercial references such as budget slashing, determination, commitment and team work to communicate all the associated positive aspects.

5. Planning and organizaing interview question:

Auestion: Give me an example of a time when you had to plan a project or a large piece of work.

Tips for Successful Answers:

+ Demonstrate how you have worked in a structured and methodical way.
+ Show real detail about the steps you have taken to plan.
+ Explain how you have amended or flexed the original plans you’d made.
+ Talk about how you built pre-emptive solutions to potential problems

6. Customer focus interview question:

Your ability to understand and believe in the importance of customer focus will be tested here. You must display a competency for understanding the difference between internal and external customers.

Question: What about important clients, or complex or sensitive customer relationships?

Answer: If you can show that through your customer service orientation you saved the company from losing something of value (a big client, $X amount of revenue, 20 man hours a week) then you will really demonstrate your customer focus. Or did you save the company a political, organizational, or image problem? Write it out. What was the situation? What action did you take? How did you communicate to your teammates and how did you communicate with the customer? What was the result? … I hope this gets you thinking.

7. Leadership interview questions:

Leadership is a competency employers look for in candidates who are applying for jobs that require them to lead, motivate and/or develop other people, usually team leader and management positions

Question: Describe a time you took a leadership position when you did not have the title of a leader.

Answer: In this question, take an example from a situation where you were in a group and took responsibility to delegate to achieve goals. Show how you gained from the other members to follow your lead and the result of your leadership.

For instance, in college, we were put into groups of four to complete a marketing project. We had to prepare a 15-page paper and 10-minute presentation on a new product. We want to introduce that outside the U.S. I took the initiative among the group to lead a discussion on how we should split up the work when we meet throughout the semester and deadlines for each person’s part of the work. Because I was the one to take the lead the discussion and had a plan in mind, I gained the buy in of the other members quickly. I took everyone’s e-mail address and created a group email to help us all keep track of our progress and so we could help each other outside of class and our meetings. By the end of the semester, my group achieved a 95% on our project.

7. Conflict resolution skill interview questions:

Conflict resolution skills and the ability to disagree with others professionally and politely are necessary for successful contribution in organizations. If every employee employer hire is willing to engage in conflict resolution, more new ideas and better approaches to solving problems will take place in your organization.

Question: Give an example of a time you handled conflict in the workplace

Answer: Your interviewer will assess your adaptability and gauge the constructiveness of your approach towards conflict, tension and differences of opinion. Your example(s) should highlight the importance of your role in resolving these issues.

8. Creative skills interview questions:

Question: Give me an example of your creativity?

Answer sample:

One of my key creative accomplishments occurred in my current job, when I had to increase market share for a new product without increasing our existing marketing budget. I kicked off with some internal brainstorming on how to maximize the use of our resources and be more creative in the way we market. I worked with our two interns, both of whom were creative writing majors, on creating a blog for our website, plus Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages for the company’s new product. I tasked the interns with managing the pages, and the three of us came up with relevant content for each social page. The ultimate aim was to create a community of fans and buzz around the new product.

Through product teasers on Twitter, the timely answering of questions on Facebook, and brief video tutorials on Instagram, we grew a fan base of 2,500 people in just three months. When the product was released, first day sales exceeded all expectations, and sales continued on a steady incline for the rest of the year. A lot of the success was attributed to the online fan base we developed, where positive word-of-mouth spurred an influx of customers to purchase the product through the trackable online sales page we created in-house with our design and dev teams.

9. Time management interview questions:

Question: Explain a time when you were not able to meet a deadline?

Answer: Use an example were you where not able to meet a deadline due to outside factors. For instance, there was a big project that my team was working on, and I had split up the work among some members and myself. During that time, one member of the team had to leave due to their spouse getting a position in another city. He left at a critical time, and I had to re-assign his duties to someone else. I make the new person work to speed with the progression of the project and due to this, was not able to complete it on time. We were still able to complete the project a few days after the deadline even with the change in the team member.

10. Problem solving interview questions:

The old adage goes that managers want people who come to them with solutions, not problems, and for me, I couldn’t agree more. The employees who can rise to a challenge and think of innovative ways to solve a problem are the ones who go on to achieve great things both for themselves and the business. Taking this into account, your manager may ask something like:

Question: Give an example of a challenge you faced in the workplace, and how you overcame it

Answer: If you are entering the workplace direct from school, college or university, this question will be geared towards your academic experiences.

Provide a great example of a task that involved using as many skills and abilities as possible. An ideal answer to this question enables you to demonstrate your ability to work in a team, display leadership skills and handle pressure.


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