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Expert reveals five common mistakes to avoid in a job interview

Expert reveals five common mistakes to avoid in a job interview

Have you been guilty of any of these?

While a gruelling and exhausting process, job interviews are ultimately essential to deciding who is the best candidate to fill a role.

And the importance of smashing your interview is now more important than ever following new data from central government, with the number of jobs available in the United Kingdom on the decline.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of jobs in the UK fell by 43,000 between December 2023 and February this year. It was the 20th consecutive three-month period where vacancies fell in the UK, down by 4.5 percent from September to November last year.

Pressure to do your upmost best in the interview process is therefore now more important than it has been in years.

And historic research suggests that potential employers often form their initial perception of candidates within the first seven seconds of meeting them; dubbed the '7/11 rule'.

Within these seven seconds, interviewers form 11 impressions on traits like your credibility, likability, and competency.

With this in mind Dr George Sik, a leading psychologist and Director of Assessment at Eras, has shared five common mistakes candidates make in those initial moments, and how to avoid them.

Smashing your job interview requires good prep.
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Your entrance is everything

Dr Sik says there is no such thing as overthinking how you first come across.

Show respect. And more importantly in every way you can - including being on time.

He says: "Being late is the first big no-no, as this shows a lack of respect for the interviewer's time, and can create a negative first impression.

"Arrive early, greet everyone confidently, and take a deep breath to compose yourself before entering the interview room."

Research is vital

It's not just about whether you think the job is right for you. It's also about proving to the people who might give you the role that you're keen to learn about who you are working for.

That's something you should be taking the time to scope out in advance, Dr Sik says.

He adds: "Nearly half [48%] of UK hiring managers feel put off by a candidate arriving unprepared or flustered. Failing to research the company and the position can make you appear uninterested.

"To avoid this mistake, thoroughly research the company's background, mission, recent news, and responsibilities.

"Practise answering common interview questions with examples from your past experiences. It’s equally important to ask thoughtful questions to show your enthusiasm and gather information about the company and role. Prepare questions that demonstrate your interest in the company culture and role expectations."

The feeling of securing a job is amazing.
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It's not just how you speak

Confidence in your voice is essential. But your physical demeanour counts just as much.

Dr Sik says: "Your body language speaks volumes during an interview, so it's crucial to be mindful of how you present yourself.

"Darting eyes can signal nervousness or untrustworthiness while maintaining eye contact demonstrates engagement and interest. Avoid common body language mistakes like slouching, fidgeting, and a limp handshake, as these can convey nervousness or lack of confidence.”

Not 100 percent confident in your abilities? Don't say as much

Just keep it positive in everything you say.

Speaking about yourself should be about putting a spotlight on your qualities. The same goes for your previous employers if you're asked.

Dr Sik says: "Don't walk into the interview already defeated.

"Project confidence with positive body language and a smile. Refrain from speaking negatively about past employers or colleagues, as it can raise concerns about your attitude and teamwork."

Follow those tips.
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Don't lose them

Keep it concise because your interviewer doesn't have long with you.

You're also not the only candidate, so you don't want them to think back to your interview and not remember what you said to the important questions.

He says: "Prepare concise and clear answers to common interview questions to avoid rambling or going off on tangents.

"Avoid generic, one-size-fits-all responses, as employers want to see how your skills and experiences match with the role."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Jobs, UK News, Money, World News