Common interview mistakes I encounter

As a hiring manager, I have interviewed hundreds of candidates so far. The more I talk to candidates, the more I start realizing, some of the mistakes are common between candidates and I wanted to share them with you, hoping it helps you to prepare better for your next challenge.

Before I move into the list, I’d like you to remember: hiring managers do not interview people to find what they do not know! Hiring managers do the interviewing to find out what you DO know and how’s that going to fit to the needs of the team and the company. Therefore, if your actions and answers start from this point of view, you’ll have a greater chance to move ahead in your interviewing process.

Here are the 5 most common mistakes I encounter:

#1 Not being punctual

Punctuality is a highly desired characteristic in professional life. Being late to the interview already will be setting you on the wrong foot. If nothing, it will create a bad initial impression. If you see that you are not going to make it on time, try to inform the company proactively for how late you will be or ask for another slot. People will understand when you reach out, but simply being late will play against you, even if you are a very good match.

#2 Not elaborating on your experience

When the hiring manager asks you to talk about your experience, this is your chance to shine. It is your opportunity to show how well you and your skills fit into the organization and the position itself. It is your convincing pitch to show why you are the right fit for what the team needs

Do not cut it short. Do not overlook your experience, but also do not get into unnecessary details. But then, how do you answer this correctly? Do analyze the job description, try to understand the expectations from the role and what the company does. Then try to create mental connections on how does your knowledge and previous experiences benefit the company and how can you use that to contribute further in this role.

The hiring manager is not asking you to read what is visible in your CV, they are asking you to provide further details, details that are not visible in your CV, but would show that you are the right fit.

#3 Not knowing enough about the company

One of the typical interview questions is, “Why do you want to join us?”. Pay attention on how you answer this question as it often defines the fate of the interview process. Before the interview, take your time to analyze the company, what do they do? Try to find out what are their culture and core values, try to find what their mission is. If possible, also analyze the market and how do they stand. Then see, how does this fit to your own values and cultural values you live by.

Your answer must be original, as this shows how genuinely you are interested in the company. Probably, you don’t want to look like just another candidate looking for just another job.

And, if you see that what you found out about the company doesn’t interest you or does not align with your values, then better move to another company, as probably this is not going to be your next place where you thrive.

#4 Not having questions of your own

This may feel related to the mistake #2, thought this is not only about your knowledge about the company, but also about showing interest about the position, the job, the team and the challenge. The hiring manager will try to understand, what is important for you. What kind of questions you ask, what kind of values you are looking for.

Often, not your answers to the interviewer questions, but your questions will tell you apart from your competition and if you are a good cultural fit for the organization.

#5 Answering questions superficially

In a time slot of 30 or 45 minutes, it is very difficult for the interviewer to check all your knowledge, though depending on how you answer the questions it will give an indication of how well you know the topic. Answering questions with a shallow answer will often leave the impression that your knowledge is superficial or that you have not actually had that experience you are mentioning in your CV.

When you believe that a detailed answer will take too long, try offering the interviewer a summarized answer and asking them if you want to elaborate it further. If this experience/knowledge is important for them, they will follow up with more detailed questions.


Preparing for the interview with the right focus and perspective will already jump you ahead of competition. Do these to prepare:

  • Research about the company, the business and the market
  • Understand the role, the responsibilities and expectations
  • Think about how your skills and experiences can be of the benefit in this role

I hope it helps you have success in your next interview. If you found this advice helpful, please share so more people will benefit from it. Thanks!

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