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Common Interview Mistakes

05 Jan 2016

Brightwater Recruitment

We all get nervous during interviews, we all make mistakes. But employers are witnessing the same mistakes turning up again and again. We outline how you can improve your performance in interviews......... Read on for more

As recruitment specialists, Brightwater consultants are at the coal face of job hunting and unfortunately we see the same mistakes happening again and again. However these mistakes can be so easily avoided. We have outlined below some common mistakes people make during the job hunting process and how to avoid them.


  • Voicemail set-up - Make sure that if you are expecting a call to set up an interview and your phone is switched off that your voicemail is set up. This is simply common sense and a matter of professional courtesy.
  • Be flexible with interview times - The employer will be as flexible as they can but they have their limits. Don’t forget that you have asked for this interview, they are just accommodating your request. The least you can do is be flexible as to the times they suggest. If you've got vital meetings or appointments, they are going to be flexible too so meet them half way.
  • Do NOT be late for an interview - It gives a very bad impression. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there and always know exactly where it is.
  • Be polite to other staff - People who ring to make the appointment, the receptionist and security guard who let you in for the interview itself. They will most likely let your interviewer know if you are rude to them.

During the Interview

  • Appearance & dress - Always make sure you are neatly groomed, dressed appropriately, don’t overdo the perfume/aftershave and make sure you don’t smell of cigarettes.
  • Body language - Be alert, offer a firm handshake, smile, look interested in the job, keep eye contact and always seem enthusiastic.
  • Mobile phone - Make sure you switch it off during interview and never take calls during the interview. We have heard of so many instances where not only does the phone ring during the interview but that the candidate actually answers it. If it is actually a phone interview, make sure your mobile phone battery is fully charged.
  • Questions - always make sure you have sample questions prepared for competency style questions. Make sure that you have researched the role and company so you can answer anything they throw at you.
  • Never ever lie - either about yourself (to make yourself seem more interesting) or about your qualifications.
  • Negativity - Never be negative about former employers - that’s a big mistake. If you are asked about why you are leaving, never launch into a rant against your employer. Simply say that you are keen for career progression and new challenges and your company cannot offer this at this time.


  • References - sometimes it’s what employers don’t say that makes potential employers suspicious, so make sure any references you give are going to be glowing. Also ensure that you keep your references up-to-date and be able to give contact details easily. Always ask permission from your referees to give their names as points of contact.
  • Salary expectations and negotiations - Don’t be indecisive or arrogant about salary expectations. You will have been made aware of the salary at interview stage, so never assume that you are automatically in a position of strength when you are offered the position and start demanding a higher salary. Whilst there is always room for negotiations, be realistic and polite about what you would like.
  • Lack of availability - Always be available to discuss the offer. Don’t switch your phone off and if you go on holidays, make sure that the interviewer knows the dates, and make sure you can access your phone messages at regular times.
  • Delay in decision making - Don’t delay in making your decision. There is always someone else ready to step into your place and if you delay, then the employer may get impatient and rescind the offer.

For further advice on successful interviewing, talk to your Brightwater Consultant by contacting our office on: 

Dublin | +353 1 662 1000 | [email protected]
Cork | +353 21 422 1000 | [email protected]