Top Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid

| 6 min read

When searching for a job or looking out for a new one, it is not enough to be qualified for the job. You need to know how to pass the interview stage. There are certain interview mistakes that can prevent you from getting hired even if you are the best fit for the job. What this means is that you might be academically qualified for the job, possess the right skillset to be productive and even have tonnes of experience and still not get hired. Why? The reason is simple. Employers pay as much attention to your performance at a job interview as they do to your CV, work experience, qualifications and certifications.

Always remember that when you get invited for a job interview, you are contesting for the job with several other candidates. This is the point where you want to steer clear of mistakes that can jeopardise your chances of getting hired. The infographics below highlight the top interview mistakes you should avoid.


Failing to do Your Research

You can’t just walk into a job interview without any prior preparation or research. You need to find out and understand what the company does. Find out who your potential employer’s target audience is. Take a look at what their competitors are doing. The more information you have, the better equipped you would be to respond to the interview questions. This will help you understand the relevance of your skills to the needs of the company.

Answering Questions Like It’s an Exam

A job interview is not an examination where all that is required of you are specific responses. It is not enough to answer the interviewer’s questions satisfactorily as you would do for an oral academic assessment.

Your goal at job interviews is to get the interviewer off his/her script. What does this mean? Most interviewers can almost predict the responses of candidates especially when the responses eventually come out as short and breezy. You can achieve this by sharing relevant examples of how you demonstrated similar skills in your previous employment or a current one. Never forget that your goal is to stand out at the interview. Give the interviewer a reason to see you as the best fit for the job.

Not Citing Examples

Most employers want employees who bring experience and insight into their existing strategies and targets. When responding to questions, feel free to cite various examples and scenarios that buttress your competence for the job. You must, however, ensure that they are relevant.

Showing Off

Employers love confident candidates but you should be cautious not to cross the line of confidence into the zone of showing off. Intellectual arrogance is not taken lightly by interviewers and you don’t want to mar your chances by expressing yourself or acting in a way that could be considered annoying. Present your skills and experience but try not to overdo it. Moderation is the keyword here.

Mobile Phone Distraction

We cannot overemphasize this, especially in this digital age. Mobile constitute a huge distraction to both you and the interviewer during interviews. The moment you step into the venue of the interview, remember to either switch your phone off or opt for a silent profile. Mobile phone addiction remains a big turnoff for interviewers and employers.

Not Asking Questions

Not asking questions during an interview shows a lack of genuine interest in the company. In some cases, it makes the interviewer question your intelligence and general enthusiasm. The interviewer is bound to ask you several questions but you should also have questions of your own. Don’t just ask random questions, make sure they are relevant.

Negative Comments About Previous or Current Employer

Very few things hurt your chances of getting a job as much as dropping negative vibes and comments about a previous or current employer at a job interview. It speaks volumes about your capacity to carry resentment. Interviewers are often quick to realise that you are very likely to speak negatively about the company when you are no longer with the company. Instead, endeavour to be positive about past opportunities.

Poor Body Language

You don’t want to be that candidate who avoids eye contact during an interview. Other things that you do that indicate poor body language include a weak handshake, not smiling or not sitting appropriately. All of these add up to show a weakness in character, underconfidence and a tendency to hide something.

Not Paying Attention

Imagine making an interviewer repeat several questions over and over again or letting your mind drift away from the interview is one way to lose the job to other candidates. During an interview, you have to ensure you give the interviewer your 100% attention. You don’t have to stare straight into his/her eyes for prolonged minutes or make him/her uncomfortable but you need to concentrate on the interview. This is one of the reasons you are advised to have a good night of sleep before attending an interview.

Acting Uninterested

There are ways your voice and nonverbal cues can suggest to an interviewer that you are not interested in the job. You need to actively participate in the interview. Spin your interview into a conversation that highlights how your skill set and how it can help the company achieve its short-term and long-term goals and objectives.

Talking Too Much or Too Little

There is a place for moderation during interviews. Your interviewer wants to ensure that you are the kind of person the company wants on the team. Talking continuously for too long or giving monosyllabic responses will not get you the job. You need to be able to strike that perfect balance between speaking confidently and responding intelligently to questions asked by the interviewer.

Telling Lies

The moment you begin to falsify information during an interview, you are making a huge mistake. Lies are not only unethical but can get both you and your potential into a lot of legal trouble. If you don’t possess certain skills, there’s no point lying about that. Honesty remains the best policy.

Not Following Up

Do you think you should follow up with your interviewer after an interview? The answer is yes. You shouldn’t leave an interview and sit back for weeks waiting for someone to contact you. This does not mean you should begin to stalk your interviewer. Rather, cultivate the habit of calling in periodically to let the company know you are still available especially when you are not hired after the interview.

Bringing Up the Salary Too Early

Remuneration is a very crucial part of an interview but some candidates make the mistakes of bringing it up way before the interviewer gets to that point. This is a wrong move at an interview and will send wrong signals to an interviewer.


Interviews are one of the most sensitive stages of a company’s recruitment process. Adequately preparing for an interview will go a long way in helping you nail it. If you’re having problems getting interviews, consider re-writing your CV as this will increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.

Princewill Akuma
Princewill is a marketing maven, who is passionate about user-centric marketing. His experience spans Tech service, Recruitment, Media and Entertainment sectors across Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. He's a career adviser, mentor, hobbyist DJ and a lover of cardio exercise with a personal record of 23.49 km. Let's connect, i'll love to hear from you.


  1. Message..A big thanks to the writer. this is undoubted tool to secure employment if heeded to.

  2. Very informative post you have written over here on Interview Mistakes, that’s what i needed the most right now because i haven’t been able to crack any interviews and didn’t get the points why i am being rejected but by reading this article i know where do i lack and from now on i will try to remember these points.Thanks a lot for this wonderful article. Going to bookmark this for sure.

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