Common Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid


By Keith Harper

You’ve submitted your resume for a job.  The Reviewer of your resume is impressed and requests an interview.   You now have your one chance to make a “first impression.” How you prepare, approach and carry out the next several steps associated with the interview will likely determine whether or not you are offered the role. Here are some critical mistakes to avoid:

Arriving Late: Do not disqualify yourself before the interview begins.  Map the route to the interview, anticipate delays and get an early start.   Set a goal to arrive at least 20 minutes early.

Lack of Knowledge of Potential Employer:  Visit the company’s website and / or LinkedIN page.  Basic knowledge and understanding of your potential employer will help to separate you from your competition.

Dressing Inappropriately: Never Dress “Down” for an Interview!  First impressions matter.  Invest time in your appearance.  Take time to dress neatly in business attire.

Lack of Enthusiasm: Your desire to secure the job should be evident in your answers, questions, voice, presentation, attitude and overall presentation.

Answer the Question:   There is a big difference between a successful response and a rant, so don’t ramble. Keep your responses focused and on topic.

Inability to Answer Questions:  Anticipate the questions to help avoid that “AWKWARD SILIENCE” moment.  Not sure what to say when asked about your greatest professional failure? Don’t be.  Sometimes interviewers try to throw curve balls just to see how you’ll react on the spot. Rehearsing answers to standard interview questions beforehand can be very helpful.

Flustered Explaining Resume Holes: If you’re playing it fast and loose with the facts on your resume, you will be found out. Be open and honest with your recruiter and work out a strategy regarding how to address shortcomings BEFORE THE INTERVIEW. After the fact, you’re already toast.

Zoning Out: If an interviewer has to repeat questions to get your attention, chances are you’re not getting the offer.  Make sure you are well rested and engage in eye contact (think empathetic, as opposed to intense and creepy). Stick to the questions asked.

Badmouthing Your Old Boss: Don’t do it!  While you may feel justified, speaking negatively about current / previous employers reflects poorly on your character.  Focus on the positive aspects of past situations and your ability to work effectively in a demanding work environment with varying conditions.

Leaving Your Cellphone On: I don’t think I need to explain this one, but you would be surprised how many people forget to mute or turn off their phone.  Plan to be removed from the outside world for the time that you are in the interview.  Don’t worry, you will be forgiven for not answering your calls and texts while in an interview.

Not Asking Questions: When you do not ask questions, you seem disinterested. Asking questions helps you engage with your interviewer in conversation and make a deeper connection.  Don’t overdo it, but be prepared to ask two or three questions about the role and / or company.

Not Following Up: It is basic etiquette and good practice to follow up with a simple Thank You email, reiterating your interest and offering to provide additional information upon request.

Keith Harper is a Managing Director at Axelon Services Corp. Keith began his career at Axelon Services in 1998 and consistently produced record-setting profits. Having joined the firm as an IT recruiter, he quickly rose through the ranks and today leads the highest revenue generating division at Axelon. He directs key accounts such as Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, BNP Paribas, TD Bank and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. He has built a high-performing team of talented and dedicated recruiters and account managers, to whom he provides hands-on training and guidance.

To contact Keith directly, please email

To learn more about this topic or to request a consultation and explore how Axelon can provide your organization with more high-quality candidates faster than any other staffing services provider, call us 877.711.8700 or email

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