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Avoid These 4 Common Interview Mistakes


You’re ready. You’ve got “Lose Yourself” queued up in your headphones, your resume is fresh off the printer, and you know you’re a lock for this role. But 30 minutes later, you’re walking out of the interview and the prospects are starting to look bleak. It’s not an uncommon place to be in, and it’s probably because of an all too common mistake. Ready to find out where you went wrong?

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(Photo Credit: Mike Licht/Flickr)

While it’s almost impossible to know exactly what went wrong in an interview, it’s always good to think about where others could and have gone wrong. 

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1. Underdressing

As Thad Peterson at says: it’s pretty simple. You don’t want to disqualify yourself just because you underdressed. Getting suited up for an interview, even if it’s “over the top” more strongly communicates that you’re eager to present yourself well. 

2. Being Too Quiet

If you don’t speak up, how are your interviewers going to get any idea of who you are? Think about how many resumes have come across their desk that look just like yours. Even with a clever cover letter, the average hiring manager will spend less than a minute reading it. 

The interview is your best opportunity to make yourself and your experience known. Don’t be shy about sharing.  

3. Asking the Wrong Questions

You’ll get time in the interview to ask questions, but that doesn’t mean every question is a good one. As this Forbes article shows, there are bad questions to ask. The best way to avoid the wrong questions is to simply do research. Learn everything about the company that you can before, and it will stop you from asking inappropriate and surface-level questions.

4. Being Negative

On a personal note, I once blew a job interview by talking negatively about another department. I know this because I later got another job within the company and asked my interviewer what went wrong the first time around. 

Similarly, 49 percent of hiring managers agree that this kind of behavior is a big mistake during a job interview. In short: being negative just isn’t worth the risk. 

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Have you ever made one of these fatal errors in an interview? Did someone say something to you about it? Tell us your story in the comments below or by joining the conversation on Twitter

Peter Swanson
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There’s a big difference between describing a bad situation and describing a bad boss or company. The first deals with an isolated incident while the latter paints a negative picture about the company or boss who paid your salary for how ever long you were there. Never bad mouth a boss or a company. Period. Even if isn’t the forbidden thing as I say here, it certainly will not improve your chances of nailing this interview. If you get the… Read more »


Totally agree with the first 3. The 4th however is very tricky. It’s very difficult not to be at least be a bit negative when responding to “Tell me about a challenge situation with your boss/co-worker when you didn’t agree and describe what happened. What would you have done differently? Challenge situations are NEVER positive and one borders on being dishonest trying to “spin” the story into a positive. Hopefully the interviewer will focus more on what you learned from… Read more »


While overdressing is always a good thing, know your audience. Working in IT in different roles has taught me that some organizations will dismiss you if don’t appear as if you will fit in to their culture.

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