The 7 Deadly Sins of Interviewing (Job Seeker Series)

The 7 Deadly Sins of Interviewing (Job Seeker Series)

Posted on 30 August 2021

If you’ve made it as far into the recruitment process as a chat with the hiring manager, well done! But are the nerves creeping up?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here are seven things to avoid doing to make sure you ace your interview and get shortlisted to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Not researching the company or interviewer you are meeting with

You’d be surprised that few candidates actually research the company or interviewer before going for an interview. I strongly suggest spending time reading up on the company, their values, financials and vision — this will help you understand what they are trying to achieve and see if it’s aligned with your own career goals.

Want to go a step further? Look up the interviewer on LinkedIn or even just do a quick Google search on them to find out more about their background and interests. This may help you find common ground with them and build a stronger relationship from the first chat.

Not building any rapport or having no chit chat

Adding on to our previous point, building rapport with the interviewer is always a great way to put your best foot forward. The easiest way is to start the interview with small talk, such as asking them about their week. At the time of writing, we are currently in a mini lockdown in Singapore, so this would be a great opportunity to bring this up with the interviewer to see how they are going with the lock down.

Yes, the interviewer is looking for someone who is able to excel in the job, but they are also looking for someone that they are able to get on with both on a professional and personal level.

Talking too little… or talking too much

There are two extremes here: One is not being able to articulate your thoughts concisely when asked a question, and the other is providing short, abrupt responses. The perfect middle ground comes when you are calm, confident and prepared.

Our advice to candidates is to always list down potential questions they think might come up, and some talking points or experience examples they can refer to quickly. This not only allows you to mentally walk through the interview but also come across as more prepared during the conversation itself.

Talk negatively about your current or previous employers

This often happens when you are asked about your reasons for leaving your current position. It’s very easy to speak too much truth and spend the next 10 minutes complaining about your current organization, manager, or even colleagues. However, be careful to stay away from saying anything that would seem like you are attacking or talking negatively about individuals or companies.

Remain diplomatic in your response and stick to the facts. Alternatively, you could also choose to respond by highlighting the opportunities this new role presents that were not available in your past or current job. If you speak badly about your current or previous employers, the interviewer will see this as a precedent that you’d likely speak poorly about them too in the future.

Ask about pay, benefits or working hours straight away

There is a right place and time for everything, and most of the time, asking about compensation doesn’t have to take place in the first conversation you have with the interviewer. That conversation might be better placed with the recruiting or HR team, if only to align on expectations and make sure this job is worth advancing the conversation for.

Use your time with the hiring manager to discuss how you can add value to the team and understand the job scope more, rather than a conversation about remuneration or benefits. You can also be tactful when trying to find out more about working hours. Rather than asking what hours you’re expected to work, ask about the team culture, if there are peers and stakeholders in other time zones, and the structure of the team. This will give you a rough idea of what the expectations are, and is something you can ask more on once you’re further along the interview stages.

6. Coming across as hard to get or uninterested

When someone is interviewing for a job, they usually get there one of two ways. Scenario A is where you are actively looking out for new job opportunities and have applied directly for this role, and scenario B is when you have been headhunted.

In both situations, I would strongly suggest you have a response ready for the big questions of “Why should we hire you?”

If you had applied for the role, have a think about what makes the organization an employer of choice for you, rather than focusing on the reasons you’re currently leaving your job. If you are in the latter scenario, even if this is just an exploratory conversation for you, think about how this opportunity could be aligned with your long term career goals and why you’re open to exploring that move.

7. Tardiness — including VC connection issues

Probably the biggest sin of all is turning up late to the interview. My rule of thumb is to arrive or log on to your video conference five minutes before you are expected. This gives you time to make sure there are no connection or audio issues if you’re interviewing virtually, and gives you a minute or two to calm any nerves you may have.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many instances of candidates only downloading a video conferencing platform at the very last minute, and not being able to sign on or attend on time. Always check and double check the invite the morning of (or even the day before) your interview to make sure you’re well prepared and can show your best self off.

For more tips and tricks to help your progress to that desired offer stage, follow us on LinkedIn.

Share this article

Job Alerts

Set up job alerts to be notified about new opportunities.