Six Innocent But Common Interview Mistakes

Six Innocent But Common Interview Mistakes


Interviews are daunting. Even worse, when you are unprepared, ‘winging it’ and the hiring manager is making you sweat.

I have personally seen a job seeker sweat (I am talking actual sweat) during an interview.

Why? Because the interviewee was unprepared - failing to answer simple details and providing textbook answers to technical questions - plus being nonchalant about the interview process. Therefore, it is extremely important to prepare for an interview and hopefully be invited to the second stage interview.

I understand that some of you may be thinking “I know how to interview” or “this will be easy” however it does not hurt to take a step back and learn how to better improve one's interview skills.

With all that said, let us examine the main common mistakes that job seekers make during interviews. I have identified six areas (particularly in sales).

1.    Not researching the company/ hiring manager

It is important to read through the company’s website, relevant media articles and search the hiring manager(s) on LinkedIn and website. Finally, if you are interviewing at multiple companies, make sure you mention the right company… yes, it does happen!

2.    Not knowing your numbers

For sales candidates, it is vital to clearly articulate your targets and how you have met/exceeded them. Aim to highlight impressive achievements; including top sales award, making president club, achieving a large deal or winning over a difficult client.  

3.    Failing to address your value and uniqueness

You need to showcase how you can ameliorate the company’s pain points; whether that is how you can save and/or make them money. Providing a clear explanation from a past experience and/or explaining how you would do the activity for the new employer.

4.    Failing to answer difficult questions

Some questions could include your strengths or weaknesses. If this arises, demonstrate with a story on how you have overcome a weakness’ through a strategy.

5.   Being too wordy

In sales, long-winded answers are a massive turn-off and will get you rejected. Perfect the art of answering the question in a concise manner, with just the right amount of detail. Tip: Perhaps you could practice on a confidant that has a short attention span!

6.    Blaseness about wanting the job

Hiring managers want to hear that you are excited about their job vacancy, so clearly express that excitement. Of course, do not lie, but if you are excited then you need to tell them!!

My final tip, in courtesy of Alec Baldwin, is to remember your ABC’s -

Always Be Closing. Close the interviewer at the end of the interview with a question about their feedback on yourself and/or ask about what to expect as the next steps in this process.

Taking everything into account, if you fail to prepare then you should prepare to fail.

If you have any other “what to do” and “what not to do” interview tips, feel free to contact me on or send me a message on LinkedIn.

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by Sam Smeaton