Interviewer rejecting applicant after an interview. Oops! Common Interview Mistakes Candidates Make

A job interview is a two-way street – it’s a conversation that helps assess if the candidate is the right fit for the employer and vice versa. However, if the candidate has a poor interview, it can ruin their chance of receiving the job offer. By recognizing and avoiding potential interview mistakes, candidates can prevent themselves from giving a negative impression on the employer.

Our executive recruiters share interview mistakes that candidates have made and ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Interview Mistake #1: No Preparation

Insufficient preparation can make the candidate look unprofessional and will be evident to their potential employer through their lack of serious, pertinent questions and answers regarding the job and the organization.

The candidate should research the company and the position thoroughly before an interview. That way, they can come to the interview armed with information that will enable them to sound well-informed.

Read More: How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions

Interview Mistake #2: Rambling

A candidate being overly verbose is frustrating for the interviewer and can lead them to form a negative impression of a candidate. Answers to questions by a potential employer should be concise and to the point.

The candidate should also avoid any discussion of politics (local or global) in an interview. It is inappropriate, and often counterproductive – even if the other party happens to share their beliefs.

Read More: Keep Yourself from Rambling with the “Traffic Light Rule”

Interview Mistake #3: Upselling

A candidate trying too hard to upsell their services on a higher level position than the position they are interviewing for can be a turn off to employers. For example, a candidate that is formerly a VP is currently interviewing for a Director role and pushing for a higher title and more money from the employer at the beginning stages of an interview.

Although the candidate may have experience that exceed the position’s roles and responsibilities, it’s important to not overstep boundaries by explaining why they deserve more than what the employer is currently offering. It’s suitable to mention if the conversation comes up organically during the interview, but otherwise, tread lightly on the topic.

Read More: Ask a Recruiter: What Do You Wish You Never Had to Tell a Candidate?

Interview Mistake #4: Lack of Questions

Failure to ask questions makes a candidate seem uninterested and disengaged to learn more about the position. The candidate should come prepared with questions for the employer that would help assess if the company is the right fit.

Read More: The Best and Most Revealing Questions to Ask Employers

Interview Mistake #5: Inappropriate Social Media Content

Active and passive candidates should be aware that any HR department worth their salt will now search for a candidate on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts. The candidate should be particularly aware of images of personal behavior, postings that are politically charged, and postings that involve profanity.

Read More: Social Media and Getting Hired (or Not)


Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with a 50-year history of excellence. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies and candidates in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital/healthcare, hotels/resorts, travel/tourism/attractions, facilities/concessions, and restaurant businesses.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a job seeker.

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