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The seven worst interview mistakes candidates make – including having a phone on, arriving late and bad-mouthing previous employers 

The career experts from Australian recruitment company Seek have outlined the seven worst mistakes to avoid making during job interviews.

In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it’s important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers. 

Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, Nick Deligiannis, said it’s essential to avoid making interview mistakes to increase the likeliness of a second interview or getting the position.

In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it's important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it's important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers

In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it’s important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers

1. Not showing passion or interest in the role

According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness for the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression.

Nick said it’s important for candidates to be polite, friendly and show that they want to be there.

‘Some small chitchat from the reception area to the interview room will show that you’re friendly and have good interpersonal skills,’ he said. 

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Share According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness in the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness in the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression

According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness in the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression

2. Arriving late

It’s important to always arrive early or on time for an interview as this will show the employer your punctuality.

19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression.

Nick said being prepared for a job interview is vital and there’s no excuse for not doing so.

‘Anticipate factors that may make you late, such as traffic, and make sure you leave the house earlier than you normally would. Look up your route the night before and arrive at least ten minutes early,’ he said.

19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression 19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression

19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression

3. Bad-mouthing a previous employer

It’s also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers.

‘Some interviewees will badmouth their previous employer when asked why they’re looking for a new role,’ Nick said.

‘Practice phrasing your answer positively, as speaking negatively about your previous employer can make you look like someone who blames others for problems rather than seeks solutions.’

It's also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers It's also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers

It’s also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers

4. Not doing your research

Those who don’t research the company and position available are putting themselves at a disadvantage, as the more a candidate knows the better they will be at demonstrating how their abilities fit the role.

By researching the role beforehand, candidates will also be able to consider any questions to ask the employer.

Director Mike Dickson at Six Degrees Recruitment in New South Wales said asking the employer challenging questions is ‘one of the most important parts of the interview’.

‘Make your question relevant – reference people, brands, have an opinion and challenge and engage your interviewer,’ he said.

5. Appearing untidy

Nick said acting and dressing appropriately is often a good idea, as employers consider who would best represent the company.

Dressing appropriately to match the job will also show your respect for yourself, others and the company. 

‘Dressing professionally is often not so much about the actual clothes as it is about being neat and tidy in overall appearance. For example, wear a neat, ironed shirt, and clean, tidy shoes,’ Nick said. 

Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you're not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you're not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression

Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you’re not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression

6. Being on your phone 

It’s important to acknowledge and respect that the interviewer is taking the time to meet you, and so it’s essential to give them full attention and avoid using your phone.

Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you’re not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression.

Instead, turn the phone on silent, put it in your bag or pocket, or leave it in the car during the time of the interview.

While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to a formal interview, it's important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to a formal interview, it's important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food

While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to a formal interview, it’s important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food 

7. Bringing food or drinks to the interview 

While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to an interview, it’s important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food.

Unless the interview is informal, such as at a café and the employer is eating or drinking themselves, it’s best to stick to only water.

If all seven common mistakes are avoided during interviews, this will ensure a good first impression is made and will likely lead to a call back.

Read more: 7 best ways to make worst possible impression in an interview – SEEK Career Advice

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