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How to Excel in Interviews: 10 Crucial "Don'ts" for Job Seekers

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As an experienced recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I've seen it all when it comes to interviews. Today, I want to share my insights on the crucial "don'ts" that candidates should be aware of when preparing for an interview. Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, these tips are timeless and can help you excel in any interview scenario, especially in this new era of remote recruiting.

Don't Waffle:

The interviewer/panel have invited you to interview because they are eager to hear more about your experiences and skills. They're already impressed with your CV, and they want you to succeed. The minute you start waffling, going off on tangents, and providing irrelevant information you risk losing their interest. Less is often more in interviews. Stick to answering the specific questions and provide concise, relevant responses. If they need more details or examples, they'll ask.

Don't be in the Dark:

In a remote interview, your visibility matters. Ensure you sit in front of a window or a well-placed ring light to provide good lighting. Avoid sitting with a bright window or light source behind you, as this can cast you in shadow and make it difficult for the interviewers to see your expressions and body language.

Don't Keep Referring to Notes:

It's essential to be fully engaged with your interviewer. Constantly referring to notes or looking around can give the impression that you're not fully prepared or that you're reading from a script. Practice beforehand, so you're comfortable sharing your examples and experience without relying on notes.

Don't be Generic:

Each question in an interview is an opportunity to showcase your individuality. Avoid giving generic answers. Instead, use concrete examples from your experience to illustrate your skills and accomplishments. Be evidence-based and show how your past experiences relate to the position you're interviewing for.

Don't be Theoretical:

Steer clear of phrases like "this is how you do it" or "this is how I would approach it." Instead, demonstrate how you've successfully tackled similar challenges in the past. Remember, you're not part of a team during the interview; you're there to showcase your individual contributions and accomplishments.

Don't be Pokerfaced:

While remaining professional is key, don't forget to smile! Maintaining eye contact (or virtual eye contact), and a smile will project warmth and friendliness. People connect with people, not robots. Your personality and demeanour can leave a lasting impression on interviewers.

Don't be Overly Familiar:

Maintain a professional tone throughout the interview. Being too familiar, such as addressing interviewers as "mate" or using overly informal language, can be off-putting and unprofessional. Always err on the side of caution.

Don't be Critical or Negative:

When asked about your reasons for leaving previous roles or companies, avoid criticising or speaking negatively about them. Instead, frame your departure in a positive light. For instance, mention that you were seeking a more autonomous working environment or new challenges. Focus on your personal growth and career aspirations.

Don't Just Say What You Think They Want to Hear:

Interviewers can usually spot candidates who are trying to say what they think the interviewers want to hear. Be honest and draw from your genuine experiences. Authenticity is key, and interviewers appreciate candidates who are sincere and transparent.

Don’t Forget to Share Your Motivation to Join:

Hiring managers want candidates who are genuinely interested in their organisation. Ensure you have clear and concise reasons for wanting to join. Demonstrating insightful interest and a strong commitment to the role can set you apart from other applicants.

Even if you're a seasoned interviewer, it's wise to revisit these basics to ensure your success in securing your next role. The good news is that you don't have to navigate this journey alone. I specialise in helping candidates prepare for interviews by running practice sessions, providing advice, and assisting with structuring responses.

For more information on interview techniques, interview preparation, or insights into the job market and recruitment in general, please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email. Remember, your next dream opportunity is just one successful interview away, so let’s make it happen.