The Biggest Job Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Just like with everything else in life, we learn through experience. Acing job interviews is a skill that takes time and practice. Even if candidates have the basics down—from the freshly pressed business suits to well-prepared answers—there may be some recurring mistakes interviewees make without even realizing it. Here are three major interview blunders Human Resource representatives complain about the most.

Talking Too Much

Having the gift of gab is a both a blessing and a curse. A common mistake that could cost candidates from getting a job is talking too much and oversharing irrelevant information during an interview. It’s easy to get nervous and start going on a rant, but preparing short and concise messages will curb that loquacious habit. The Wall Street Journal suggests speaking for no longer than two minutes to answer a question, which is plenty of time to explain something without having the interviewer’s eyes glaze over. If you’re talking about yourself, asking questions like “Do you need more details?” or “Do you want to know about something in particular?” is a good way to break up the conversation and allow the other person to engage in the dialogue. In addition, it’s important to keep track of the hiring manager’s body language for signs of boredom such as pen-tapping or blank-eyed stares.

Not Doing Your Homework

Being out of college doesn’t necessarily mean we become true adults and stop procrastinating. We all know it’s essential to study up on a company right before an interview, but most people quickly glance over the company’s website for good measure. Well, it’s not enough. In order to stand out, read and take notes on the company’s mission statement, key executive players, strengths and weaknesses, current and previous projects, and recent news stories. ( gives some good tips on more topics to research.) If you know who will be interviewing you, check out their LinkedIn profile to see if you have any commonalities—albeit experience or alma mater—to talk about. Find a way to edge your knowledge into conversations and questions. It will impress interviewers that you really did your homework and give them a glimpse of your potential work ethic.

Not Doing the Research for Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations are always a tricky beast. Aim too high and you might not be considered for the job; aim too low and you may be undervaluing yourself. Vanessa Ko from CNN advises people to do their research on the salary range for the position they’re interviewing for, and then give a specific number, not a range. Based on a recent research study Ko reported, employers are more likely to respond more favorably to precise numbers instead of round numbers; for example, asking for a $63,000 amount rather than $60,000. Jeff Northrup writes in Lifehacker that if a hiring manager asks for a salary amount in the first interview, say something along the lines of, “I want around $xxx,xxx. Of course I’ll take into consideration the complete package, but I think that’s a fair starting point.”