Careers Advice: How To Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

20 June, 2014
Hannah Neocleous

Careers Advice: How To Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

20 June, 2014
small red figurines and small yellow figurine
At Instant Impact, our superstar account managers hold hundreds of interviews a month to place our graduates in their perfect internships and jobs- so they know a thing or two about it!

In this blog Alice, Sophie and Kieran give fantastic careers advice to students and graduates alike.


Here's a list of the most common mistakes candidates make when coming in for an interview, with advice on how to avoid them...

 “Being late for an interview without a genuine reason.”

Hint: Give yourself a buffer period. Plan to arrive half an hour before, find the venue first and then go for a coffee or a short walk. This will alleviate any issues along the way and give you time to de-stress. Late tubes or getting lost are poor excuses.

An employer honestly won’t mind if there’s a genuine unforeseen problem obstructing you from arriving on time. For example, if your train into London broke down. In these events courteously give them a ring as soon as possible to discuss your options.

“Talking for too long answering a question and changing the topic to suit them.”

Hint: Make sure to succinctly address the points raised. Usually at the end of an interview you will be asked if there’s anything else you’d like to say. Wait for this point to bring up anything extra you’d like to add that may not have been relevant.

“Using buzz words to explain their skill sets e.g. ‘good time management’, ‘work to tight deadlines’, ‘love a challenge’.”

Hint: Explain how you demonstrated these rather than that you just have them. Give specific examples- then the interviewer will be able to believe in you.

“Lack of eye contact and fidgeting. This gives me the vibe that they have little or no confidence or enthusiasm.”

Hint: Make a conscious effort to remain professional with your interviewer. This may be happening because you’re very nervous so just breathe deeply, remain still and remember to engage.

Equally you may decide part way through after finding out more that perhaps this isn’t actually the right role for you. Don’t lose interest! Continue the interview because the feedback will be highly valuable for other positions you go forward for.

“Critiscising and bad mouthing past employers.”

Hint: It’s a small world. You never know when a comment could come back to bite you. And even if you did have a truly bad experience with a past employer, future ones won’t want to hear about bad work relationships.

If you are questioned about leaving past jobs, draw it to your personal development, explaining positive reasons to why you feel you need to move on.


Looking for more careers advice? Check out this funny blog: 7 Things That Are Not Ok To Do On A Skype Interview

We are a London based graduate recruitment agency offering only paid internships/ jobs and opportunities for students and graduates. All you need is your CV ready! Apply online and follow the simple instructions: APPLY 

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