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Cover image for 10 Ways to Fail an Interview: Avoid These Interview Mistakes
Aditi Sharma for Peerlist

Posted on • Originally published at blog.peerlist.io

10 Ways to Fail an Interview: Avoid These Interview Mistakes

Nobody likes getting rejected, but each one of us has gotten rejected at least once - some for the job, some for the role, and some for the project, we can’t control everything, however, we can minimize the risk of getting rejected.

How? If we make sure that we have our fundamentals right and preparation is on point, then we can have control over the part that is done by us.

There are a few red flags that are a big no-no for the company, and that’s why you don’t even get selected.

Red flags to avoid:

Mentioning bare minimum in the job profile -

For example, if you are applying for a front-end developer, mentioning that you know HTML and CSS is a big no. It’s implied only. Some candidates only mention the bare minimum which means an instant rejection.

Using nouns, not verbs -

It’s good to be confident but a hiring manager is looking for the work you have done, not the β€œpositions” you have gotten. For example - β€œCreated a customer analytics dashboard that helped the team increase revenue by 10%.”

Over explanations about mentioned tasks -

It shows poor planning. Be precise. Try to give what’s needed only. Don’t use jargon. Make it simple.

Avoid doing the above mentioned in your profile and you are selected for an interview. Read β€œApplying for jobs but not getting interviews?” to undo the mistakes you are making currently.

Let’s learn what to avoid before the interview.

7 Mistakes you should avoid -

If you think you can not fail an interview before arriving, you are in surprise, you can. That’s why we are here. A lack of preparation is one of the worst mistakes you can make. But don’t worry, keep reading and find some β€œdon’t-dos” and avoid them.

You don’t research the company

You have a plethora of sources and you still fail to research the company. Hiring managers consider it the first sign of a bad interview. According to job interview statistics, 47% of job candidates failed an interview because they didn't know much about the company.

What can you do to make an impression?

Make sure to prepare some questions about the company. For example -

  • What do we do here at X?
  • What is it that interests you about X?
  • What do you know about the history of X?
  • X is mentioned on the website, what does it imply to customers?

Bonus tip - Make a checklist whenever you apply to a particular job.

You Didn't Prepare for Common Interview Questions

Be it for a startup or a corporate company, every hiring manager is asking a few common questions. It’s a win for us. We have the time to prepare for the questions but still, some of us fail to do so.

Do not prepare words by words but you should have some pointers in your mind. Make a chart or something to list your strengths and weaknesses.

Some most common questions -

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Bonus tip - Do a SWOT analysis and you will have your answers. Prepare some questions for the end of the interview. Ask about the next steps, or what does a typical day or week look like?

You're Late to Arrive

Tardiness sets a bad tone. Yes, you might get late because of X valid reasons. But remember, on-time is late too. Value your own time and others' too.

Even if it’s an online interview, make sure to join the meeting link, a few minutes before so that you have the time to check your technical issues.

Bonus - Have a different notepad tab open to make sure you write everything that is relevant. Also, tardiness from hiring managers is also not acceptable but they are still your hiring manager - so be humble and respectful.

You Pretend You Know an Answer That You Don't

Hiring managers were also once candidates, they know the filler words, and phrases. It can feel so deflating to come up blank when asked a technical question. But, don't BS your way through a query.

Instead, you can choose to be truthful and tell them the most suitable answer you have and add β€œthis is from the best of my knowledge.” Let them know that you are open to learning and open to accept what you don’t know.

Bonus - Use "I'm not sure I know the answer, but may I share what I think it might be?" Try to be as precise as you can be.

Too Much Name Dropping

Dropping the name of a colleague or a friend is okay but keep it cool as well.

It’s good that you have connections and your network is robust but this is also a bit unacceptable during the interview. Mention your network if it is relevant only. Don’t try to make the conversation around the network for the namesake.

The focus should be on your skills and achievement and not on who’s in the industry from your connections.

Bonus - Use the name-dropping while appreciating the hiring manager or the company but make sure to make it real. For example - X asked me to congratulate you on your recent achievement.

You're Too Rehearsed

It is perfectly fine to prepare for common questions so that you can present your best self. Don’t consider it as a queue to memorize some common answers from google. Make sure to be yourself.

Show your personality and give your twist (keep it professional) to the valuable insights you want to share.

Bonus - Add a few fun facts about the role you were in and make it a bit fun for your hiring manager. Loosen up a little.

You Don’t Ask Questions

That’s where most of the candidates fail. Remember, the interview is for you too. It can be overwhelming to ask questions when you were the one who was replying from the beginning. But, this is a good chance to understand the role properly.

It shows your interest and preparation as well.

Questions can be similar to -

  • What are your expectations from this role?
  • How will success be measured for this role?

Bonus - Ask about the direction and the growth-dependent factor of your role. Understand how you are contributing to the organization’s growth.

You Didn't Follow Up (If You Didn't Hear)

That’s a common mistake. We know all about post-interview ghosting but sometimes, hiring managers are just busy or experiencing some kind of block. Your follow-up can help you both. It shows your determination as well.

Bonus - Ask your hiring manager during the interview for the follow-up process. It will be easier for you to be on the same timeline.

These are some of the mistakes you can avoid and impress your hiring manager.

Some other tips -

  • Make sure to keep the interview professional.
  • Take it seriously.
  • Don’t share much about your personal life if not asked.
  • Be precise.

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