Recently we gave you the 5 biggest things to avoid when interviewing candidates – now we are turning the tables and examining what candidates should steer clear of in an interview.

There are many benefits to the interview process. It  is a chance to demonstrate everything you have achieved in your career, the things detailed on your CV – the interviewer wants to see that information come to life. On top of this, interviewers will learn a lot about you – your personality and your way of thinking – it is important these things come across as you would like.

If you want to ensure you succeed in securing the best roles, you have to demonstrate that your list of achievements are more than just words on a piece of paper. Above all interviewers want to see that you are someone that they can work with to achieve the client’s goals.

To make sure your interview is a successful one, we have spoken to our highly-experienced recruitment team. These are the 7 things candidates should avoid doing at all costs:


1) Speaking negatively about previous work

There may have been times in your career when external factors have stopped you from achieving the best results in your role. Whilst this is frustrating, it is important to remember that negativity doesn’t come off well in an interview. Interviewers want to see a positive candidate who is looking forward to a potential new role and the challenges that come with it – not someone caught in the past.

An ideal candidate will work well as a part of team – listing off numerous past bad experiences may imply that you were part of the problem.


2) Coming across as arrogant

Another warning sign for interviewers is an arrogant candidate. One who approaches an interview saying, “I can do this job standing on my head, it just depends if you think I’m a team fit…” This gives off the impression that you are not taking the requirements seriously.

It will also ring alarm bells for the client. If you think you know everything there is to know about the job, how are you going to respond to working with people who may have different ideas?


3) Underselling yourself

Conversely, underselling yourself is a common mistake made in interviews. Some people attempt to avoid arrogance to such an extent that they are afraid to emphasise their achievements.

As long as it is done in a mature and sensible way, interviewers want to hear about what you have accomplished in your career – they want to hear your CV come to life.


4) Inappropriate attire

This piece of advice is as old as time, but it still seems to be a problem. One of our consultants recalls a candidate attending an interview in a yellow suit with a black tie. You want your personality and achievements to be the lasting memory from the interview not your clothes – so avoid outlandish suits and comedy ties.


5) Attempting to control an interview

The client lays down the parameters of the interview for a reason, and it is your job to shine as much as possible within those parameters. Avoid trying to hijack the interview with your own material as much as possible. This includes bringing ‘supplementary information’ such as files and presentations when they haven’t been requested.

The best candidates understand that the interview questions have been chosen for a reason. As a result, they listen to them and formulate the best answer possible. This shows respect for the client and for the role itself.


6) Namedropping

This ties in with coming across as arrogant. Excessive namedropping only makes you look as though you are avoiding the questions that are being asked because you are not confident in answering them. The interviewer is much more interested in you and the work you have done, rather than the list of impressive people that you have worked with.


7) Blagging

Whilst being confident in answering questions is important – don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. A candidate who is honest and willing to learn is more attractive to clients than a dishonest one. Candidates who blag their way through an interview will get found out eventually, even if they get the job. It is much better to admit a gap in your experience and offer similar or related experience, and demonstrate how that can be relevant to the role.


Some of these may seem obvious, but until we stop seeing them happen they will continue to hurt candidates’ chances. The better equipped candidates are for interviews the better the selection will be.

This our top 7 but what would you like to see added to the list?

The following two tabs change content below.

Alex Kassab

Alex has been with Insight since January 2016 - initially working as part of the back office team, he now helps manage Insight's website, blog and social media output - whilst also pursuing a career as a script writer for film and television.
Share This