Most common job interview mistakes

Last modified May 29, 2019


Interviews are more than just hearing out what’s already there on your resume; they are to assess a lot more than your proficiency in the niche.

So even if you get all the skills right, you can still screw an interview if you are not prepared for it. And trust us, it’s not worth, especially when it’s your dream job.

Because being the right fit for the company is equally important as being the right fit for the job; Hence, ensure you put your best foot forward and avoid risking the job because of these unnoticeable issues.

Yishan Wong is the former CEO of Reddit, a co-founder at Mountain View coworking space Sunfire Offices, and an advisor at Quora.

Wong was previously a senior engineering manager at PayPal, then worked at Facebook as a director of engineering on projects including crowd translation. Since April 2011, Wong has been a contributing editor at Forbes.

In a Quora answer, he shared some vital job interview mistakes that people make during job interviews and should be avoided at all costs.

“I’ve interviewed literally hundreds of people, mostly for engineering positions and some in management.

Short of displaying outright incompetence (i.e., just clearly being unqualified for the job), here are some “silly” interview mistakes I’ve seen people make:

  • Being totally uninformed about the company they’re interviewing at.
  • For popular consumer internet companies, not having created an account or tried out the product even minimally before coming to interview – shows you don’t do your homework.
  • Trying to show off and failing. Showing off is a gamble: if you pull it off, good for you. If not, expect no sympathy.
  • Lying about having been given a question before (by another interviewer) when the interviewer asks if you’ve gotten it before.
  • Lying in general, and then getting caught.
  • Claiming expertise on things in their resume they don’t know anything about and expecting not to get asked about them, and then failing miserably.
  • Swearing, or being excessively inappropriate in other ways.
  • Being disrespectful to some of your interviewers (I once had a candidate who was respectful to all his male interviewers and totally rude to all his female interviewers).
  • Outright insulting your interviewers, or really any group of people in general.

There are some straightforward ways to avoid these errors:

  • Do your homework about the company.
  • Know what you know, and know how to demonstrate it. This will make you both confident in yourself yet humble about what you don’t know.
  • Don’t lie, of course.
  • Be respectful in your thoughts, and it will show in your words.
  • Go along with them. They might ask you to jump through a few hoops – that’s fine, this is an interview and they probably have a routine. No one ever lost a job because the interviewer said, “Man, that guy was just way too willing to jump through all my hoops!”  If it’s too excessive, you can easily decline the offer later, but it’s not worth it to prove how cool a rebel you are in the interview.”

Why must you avoid these job interview mistakes?

Being uninformed about the company!

A conscious person will always be aware of where he/she is heading to. And that perfectly implies to the job interviews as well, apart from compensation or just the job title, what lured you into applying to the organization?

So if you show up to a job interview with minimal or no amount of research, it’s likely that the organization is just one out of the other 20 places you’ve applied to.

To appear sincere about the job in an interview, show up with thorough research about the organization, its offerings, and possible information you can find out there.

Being Unaware of your role

The dumbest job interview mistake you can ever make is to appear for a job interview without reading the job description carefully.

Know it well than anything else, what purpose you’re being hired for. What roles you’ll be performing or what is expected of you.

Job titles are too generic to depend upon, read the description carefully!

Lying on your resume

To be honest, that’s not even a mistake; it’s a professional sin, to lie on your resume. And chances are you will get caught if you’ll need to show proficiency at the skill you mentioned merely to get the interview.

31% of professionals have admitted having lied on their resume. And it’s not worth it if there’s something you don’t know or can’t do.

Do not mention it for the sake of getting the job; Google won’t provide you professional proficiency.

You might end up burning the bridges with the organization for the future.

Being late for the interview

There is a 100% chance that your interviewers would have better things to do than interviewing you all day. So if there’s a chance you might get late or are running late, do inform them.

First impressions are the last one, and being late will ruin that even before they interact with you. So be punctual if not that, at least be considerate of someone’s time and inform them beforehand.

Dressing unprofessionally

Talking about impressions, how you dress up, or how presentable you look is crucial than you think. It shows you’ve made an effort for this job, and if hired you’ll be a part of the organization, the last thing they’d want is someone ungroomed in wrinkled clothes representing their organization.

Being disrespectful

No matter how much you believe, you’re smarter than your recruiter doesn’t try to show it with your actions. Be respectful of the person taking out their time to interview you.

Even if you don’t want this job, be cooperative and polite during the interview. Professional space is pretty small; chances are you’ll cross your ways with the person or organization, and you don’t want to be remembered as that person.

It also includes being inattentive to what the interviewer is saying, checking your mobile phone during the interview.

Not asking questions/ or asking wrong questions

An interview is a two-way process; you’re not there to sell your skills. Compare a job interview to date, would you earn a second one if you won’t ask any question to them? Hell no!

Recruiters don’t want just a proficient coder or an excellent marketer. They want an employee who can not only perform a good job but can fit within the work culture and align with their company’s visions.

Not asking questions, or asking a stupid question will make you seem uninterested in the job, decreasing the chances of you getting one.

Bashing your last employer

No matter if you worked in hell itself under the devil, be at least diplomatic if not positive. The way you’re talking about your previous organization is the way; you’ll talk about your next if things go wrong.

Doing so will minimize your chances of getting hired. Leave all the issues with your last job, even if you haven’t resigned yet, there’s no point in carrying them to your job interview.

Interviews are all about being truthful and real, without getting too unprofessional. So try to avoid making these mistakes during a job interview.

Remember, when you appear for an interview, try to leave an impression that your interviewer would remember you for, even if you’re not getting the job.

Prepared for an interview now? Apply for jobs.


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