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How to avoid the top interview mistakes

Leaving university and heading out into the world of work can be a daunting experience. You've spent several years learning new things and getting a qualification, but before you get to put your skills into practice you've got to find suitable work. Of course, the first part of obtaining any role is getting through the dreaded interview process.

Even with the utmost experience and relevant qualifications, you are unlikely to receive a job offer if you are unable to present yourself effectively in an interview.

Here are some of the common mistakes prospective employees make and how to avoid them.

Wearing inappropriate clothing

First impressions count and even if you are the best person for the role, your application is unlikely to be successful if you turn up to the interview wearing inappropriate attire. Regardless of whether a company has a relaxed dress code or not, it is always best to make yourself look as smart as possible for the interview.

Answering ice breaker questions incorrectly

Most interviews include competency-based questions and those require great concentration on your part. However, many employment decisions are actually made in the first 30 seconds and the questions asked at the start of the interview are just as important as the more challenging ones later on.

Interviewers like to break the ice by asking simple, chatty questions such as what your journey was like. Never ever answer these negatively as the journey you've just made is the one you'd have to make each day if you got the job and a negative response suggests to the interviewer you may have a negative attitude.

Not researching the company

During an interview, you will be asked a series of questions to establish what you know about the business. If you cannot demonstrate any knowledge, it suggests you are not taking the role seriously and gives the impression that your researching skills (which are vital to many positions) are lacking.

It is always advisable to spend some time looking at the company's website and social media profiles. This way you can easily explain how your skills fit in with the company's methods and values.

Talking too much

The most successful interviewees are the ones who can speak clearly and passionately about their expertise. It is perfectly natural to be nervous, but you must do your best to avoid giving overly-long answers or going off on tangents.

Criticising past employers

Even if you left your past workplace under a dark cloud, being critical of working procedures and past colleagues will only reflect poorly on you. The interviewer wants to see that you can work effectively with others so even if you have had a bad experience, you should always look to focus on the positive aspects of your previous employment.