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What Are Your Biggest Interview Mistakes?

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Preparing for an interview can be intimidating. There are a lot of things to consider if you want to make a good impression, but it can be hard to know exactly what to focus on.

As part of our quarterly Employment Market Monitor, we asked employers what mistakes are most likely to cost a candidate the job. Here, we’ll look at how you can avoid these mistakes, and increase your chances of getting the job. 


Being friendly in an interview is a given. You’re trying to convince this person to give you a job, so it should go without saying that being nice is a good idea. But don’t get too friendly, as 42% of respondents to our survey said that they were put off by candidates who are overly familiar. While it’s a good idea to be friendly in an interview, you also want to show a certain degree of professionalism. If you try too hard to make friends, you’ll never do business with them.

This can be a tricky balance to strike, especially because every interview is different. Some interviewers will be all business, while others will be far more relaxed. One way to approach this issue is to practice mirroring, which is when you reflect the demeanour of the interviewer. Body language is said to account for over half of our overall communication, and there are five main ways we express ourselves through body language. These are the body, hands, head, face, and voice, so remember these points, and take your cues from the interviewer.


More and more businesses these days are opting for a more casual, informal atmosphere at work. For many, casual Fridays have become casual everydays. 47% of employers even say that they believe their staff work better in casual clothes. On the flipside, just over half of employers say that they would reject a candidate who dresses too casually for an interview.

Attitudes towards clothing are quite polarised and vary considerably, so it can be hard to know how to dress. Ultimately, it’s better to err on the side of caution, even if the days of suits and ties are on their way out. You won’t get rejected for wearing a suit, but you might for wearing jeans, so if in doubt, dress up.


Whatever you do end up wearing, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clean, because 81% of employers say that they would reject a candidate with poor personal hygiene. The fact that this figure is so high should come as no real surprise. Apart from the ick factor, you have to think about what your appearance tells the interviewer.
If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, why should they trust you to look after and represent their business? 


Unsurprisingly, the results of our survey found that showing up late to your interview is most likely to dash your hopes of securing the job. 82% of employers said that they would reject a candidate who shows up late to the interview, highlighting just how important punctuality really is.

You might not think that showing up 5 minutes late is the end of the world. It’s not like it will throw their schedule off too much. But the first impression you want to make is not one of a flustered candidate making excuses, so do everything in your power to show up on time. Map out the area, plan your route, account for traffic, and do a dry run if you can. Just don’t be late, or you can pretty much kiss your chances goodbye.  

Interviews, and the build up to them, are a nerve-racking experience. You don’t always know what to expect, and it can be hard to prepare for everything. But employers have spoken, and they’re telling you that these are five things you need to get right on the day. Ultimately, these are the people who decide if you get the job or not, so pay attention to what they’re saying, and you’ll have a lot less to worry about. 

Find out what’s on the minds of Ireland’s employers

Read the full results of our Q3 2016 Employment Monitor to see how employers feel about automation, tattoos, Brexit, and more.

View Report