15 things you should not do at an interview

If your CV and cover letter have been impressive enough to get you an interview, the job could be yours – provided you perform well at the meeting. Even the most seasoned professional can get flustered and spoil their chances, so with a little preparation you can avoid falling foul of these common interview blunders:

Not doing your research

You might have the skills to do the job but do you know the how the company operates? Check the ‘About Us’ link on the company website and read their mission statement. Find out who the competition and major players in the market are.

Turning up late

Unless you have a very good excuse and ring ahead to rearrange, turning up late for an appointment will not endear you to any employer.

Dressing inappropriately

While smart casual might be the current trend, professional attire is still proper business etiquette for interviews. It’s all about first impressions.

Fidgeting with unnecessary props

This can include mobile phones, nail files and chewing gum. They all have one thing in common – they don’t belong at the interview table.

Poor body language

Eye contact, good posture, a cheerful demeanour and a firm handshake will get you a long way in an interview.

Unclear answering and rambling

Take time to think before you answer questions and avoid bumbling to an uncomfortable halt; it doesn’t inspire confidence. Also, don’t mumble; the interviewer doesn’t want to have to ask you to repeat an answer or have to strain to hear every word you’re saying.

Speaking negatively about your current employer

Never complain about your current employer no matter how despotic or ineffectual they are. Badmouthing won’t reflect well on you.

Not asking questions

Employers want to see you’re interested enough to hear more about the post or company and will look kindly on any well-placed questions.

Lying on your CV

Anything written on your CV could be discussed at an interview and a fabrication about your work or education record could damage your reputation in the long run.

Getting personal or too familiar

Avoid giving sob stories about how much you need the job due to the mountain of debt you’ve accrued. Also, don’t behave in a conceited or overfamiliar and flirty manner; it’s not a good look no matter how much you fancy your chances.

Not bringing along additional CVs

If you’re unsure how many people will be interviewing you, bring along surplus copies of your CV to hand out. It will show that you’re highly prepared.

Sitting down before invited

It’s common courtesy to wait until you’re shown a seat to sit down. Also, avoid slouching or putting your feet anywhere but firmly on the ground.

Discussing money or time off

Unless an offer is put on the table, it’s not recommended that you discuss money or future working and holiday arrangements.


Using foul and inappropriate language is generally not acceptable at any time in the workplace, so at an interview it won’t win you any accolades.

Not following up

You might not think you’ve performed well in an interview but a simple email reiterating your interest is a courtesy that might just pay off in the long run.