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August 28, 2017

The 10 Biggest Job Interview Mistakes

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The 10 Biggest Job Interview Mistakes

By Sophie Christie, Digital Producer for Business and Finance

If you're repeatedly being turned down for roles that you have the skills and qualifications for, you could be guilty of committing of these common interview blunders.

Many employers, especially those flooded with applicants, have a low tolerance for mistakes - so candidates should brush up on their interview technique to increase their chances of being hired.

We enlisted the help of our very own Human Resources department to get their insight into the worst mistakes to make in a job interview. Below, they've picked out the top 10.

1. Check the dress code

If you work in a formal, "suited and booted" environment but your interview is with a company that has a more casual dress code, or vice versa, make sure you're aware so you can adapt accordingly.

Not dressing the part can make the interviewer feel uncomfortable, and candidates should always try hard to look professional.

2. Always ask questions

When the interviewer asks: "Do you have any questions?", the ideal answer to this is "yes" as it shows that you've prepared for the interview and thought about the company and the role.

Even if everything has been covered during the interview, simply saying "I wanted to ask about the strategy / team / environment... but you've covered this already" at least shows you had questions in mind.

3. Read the interviewer

That being said, if you've been working through a list of questions for 20 minutes, following a one-hour interview, read the room and know when it's time to wrap things up.

4. Check before you name-drop

If you mention in an interview that a current employee is a former colleague, it's worth ensuring that they'll speak well of your time working together.

5. Remember names

Remembering the name of your interviewer always leaves a good impression. A simple "it was great to meet you, Sarah" ends an interview on a nice note, and should be applied to whoever comes to meet and greet you at each stage of the process.

6. Treat everyone respectfully

On a similar note, first impressions count so never assume that the receptionist / person taking you to a meeting room is less important than the person who is interviewing you.

7. Research your interviewers and the company

An easy way to find out more about your potential employer is to look them up on LinkedIn (especially so you know who to look out for when sitting in reception), however, there's no need to drop in references to the company your interviewer worked at eight years ago to prove that you've done your research.

8. Take the water

Even if you feel like you've got your pre-interview jitters under control, the dreaded dry mouth can strike at any time - take the water offered to you so that you don't end up struggling to get your words out after half an hour, or interrupting the interview to get yourself a cup.

Having a glass of water to sip also gives you a way to pause and gather your thoughts for a few seconds before tackling the next question.

9. Resume gaps

If you've submitted a resume that shows gaps in your employment ("and we'd always recommend this over 'flexing' the dates... as if all goes well, we'll be checking your references after extending an offer", Telegraph HR says), you should have a concise explanation ready to go.

Employers know that "life happens", but an interview isn't the best forum to explain that you were unable to work for three months due to difficult family circumstances (especially if you end up in tears).

10. Reasons for leaving

It's quite clear that your last job wasn't perfect - otherwise you wouldn't be at a job interview - but be mindful of how you present this to your interviewer.

Negativity and personal comments about your current team or manager will cause alarm bells to ring.

Sophie Christie is a journalist and digital producer covering business, property and personal finance at Telegraph and The Sun. To learn more about Sophie, follower her on Twitter @SChristie_

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