Common Interview Mistakes

You made it past the resume selection process and got an appointment for an interview. This meeting will be your chance to make a first impression on what might be your future employer. You’ll want to appear confident and elaborate on your skills, experience and qualifications. It’s also important to avoid blunders that can decrease your chances of getting hired. The following are the most common mistakes made by candidates when being interviewed.


  • Arriving late: Try to arrive on time or only slightly early (10 to 15 minutes). Being punctual shows that you value the interviewer’s time. If an emergency arises that will keep you from being timely, get in touch with the interviewer. Warn them and explain why you’ll be late. 
  • Inappropriate attire: Wear business casual attire to show the interviewer your professionalism and that you’re serious about the position. It never hurts to research the company, their culture and dress code before the interview. 
  • Avoiding eye contact: To show that you’re confident, meet the interviewer’s gaze. It helps you make a connection and a good impression. 
  • Too little or too much energy: If your energy level is low, you risk looking disinterested. Too much excitement makes you seem childish and distracts the interviewer from your answers. Use your tone, posture and body language to show measured enthusiasm and spark.
  • Allowing your cellphone to distract you: Turn your phone off! Checking your cell phone during an interview is disrespectful to the interviewer's time and attention. Powering your phone down will help you stay focused and free of distractions. 
  • Bringing a drink: If you need coffee, a soda or water, have it before the interview. Keep your hands free so that you can focus on the interview, make a good impression, answer questions thoroughly and maintain eye contact throughout the process. 
  • Forgoing research: Do extensive research about the company you’re interviewing with and the position you’re applying for. Learn about their products, services, specialties, their culture, their projects. Be ready to explain why you’re interested in their company. Be prepared to ask questions and to demonstrate how you might add value.
  • Losing focus: Before the interview, get adequate sleep and eat well. You want to look refreshed and focused. Make an effort to stay engaged. Show enthusiasm for the position. Use active listening skills to show your interest. Don’t zone out!
  • Being unsure of resume facts: Read over your resume as you wait for the interview. Know the details of your prior employment, previous tasks and important dates so you can discuss your past experience during your interview.
  • Talking too much, too little or in clichés: Answer interview questions with information that is relevant. Keep your answers succinct. Maintain a  professional conversation, with little or no talk of your personal life. Avoid clichés (I’m a team player, I pay great attention to detail, I’m a perfectionist, I’m a natural leader, I’m a critical thinker, etc.). Look for an opportunity to differentiate yourself, making yourself memorable.
  • Speaking ill of previous employers: Share what you learned from your previous work experiences without blaming past employers. Focus on the skills you developed and what you plan to do in your new role. Be diplomatic and professional. 
  • Not practicing common questions: Don’t be caught off guard. Search for and practice answering common questions for the particular job you applied for. This will make you appear confident and qualified. 
  • Having no questions to ask: Having questions demonstrates your professionalism and ambition and establishes you as a serious candidate. Before the interview, come up with a few questions to ask the interviewer, ones that cannot be answered by their website or social media page. Make mental notes during the interview of further questions you would like to ask. 
  • Over or underselling yourself: You want to impress the interviewer without bragging or being cocky. It’s also important to take ownership and praise for your achievements rather than appearing falsely humble. 


Always send your interviewer an email thanking them for the opportunity. Though the interview process is difficult and often nerve-wracking, being aware of common interview errors can help you avoid pitfalls. Keep these tips and techniques in mind next time you apply for a new position. Good luck!


Looking for a new position? Interested in some expert advice and assistance? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.