Job Interview Tips

Interview Mistakes to Avoid

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Do not bring a drink.  

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With your nerves brewing and the nervous dry mouth looming, it’s easy to want to bring a bottled or hot drink in with you, but don’t! It’s not professional to enter with a drink in hand. It looks too casual. Plus, a drink provides you with an opportunity to fidget and get distracted (focusing on the drink and not making eye contact.  You also run the risk of accidentally spilling the drink.

Pitch the tea, coffee, juice, or water bottle before you even enter the building for your interview.

Do not chew gum or suck on a mint or candy.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 6.11.03 PMThis may be very distracting, and you run the risk of accidentally spitting it out or even worse, biting your tongue.

Not being able to think of an answer to the question.

When you’re nervous sometimes your mind goes blank, try not to panic!  Take a breath and use one of these tactics:

  • Request that the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question. 
  • Strategically ask for more time by saying, “That’s a great question! May I have a few moments to think about it?”  This makes the silence in the room less awkward by letting the interviewer know that you are composing your thoughts.

Calling the interviewer by the wrong name.

When you have hit the road looking for a job and have multiple interviews lined up, you may mess up and make a mistake by calling the interviewer or the company by the wrong name, it happens.  If you do make this mistake, you will most likely be mortified.  If this happens, the best thing to do is apologize immediately and move on.

In an attempt to avoid this blunder, when you first walk in for your interview, repeat the interviewers name out load and then a few times in your head.

Talking negatively about a previous job or colleague.

No matter how bad any previous jobs, bosses or colleagues have been, never speak negatively about it at a job interview.  This may result in a red flag popping into the employer’s mind.

If you left a previous job because of a layoff or budget cut, prepare an answer that is factual and neutral. Keep your emotions out of it.

Forgetting to turn OFF your cell phone.

Before even entering the building, turn off your phone. Also while waiting for your interview to begin, you do not want to be seen scrolling through your phone. You may be so nervous that you then forget to turn it off.   While waiting for your interview, flip through your resume and portfolio, not your phone.   If you happen to forget to turn off your phone and it goes off during the interview, immediately apologize and turn it off.

Forgetting to bring your portfolio.

Bring extra copies of your resume to the job interview.  Go the extra mile and get your resume printed off at a business supply store, on resume-grade paper.  If you have pops of colour on your resume, get colour copies printed.  You may also want to bring examples of your work. If you forget to bring your portfolio, send a follow-up email with samples of your work. 

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How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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During the hiring process, your resume is only one piece of the puzzle.  Resumes get you an interview, not the job.  It’s the job interview that lands you the job.

Unfortunately, the interview is where people most people mess up.

Even the most fantastic resume and killer credentials can’t mask poor interviewing skills. The interview is where you must display confidence, stellar oral communication skills, and the ability to articulate the value that you bring.


When developing your resume and preparing for the job interview, this is no time for modesty.  An error job candidates make is taking a too modest approach – especially at the interview stage.  The interview is your time to shine!  What makes you the best candidate?  What value do you bring?  What are your accomplishments and achievements?  Now is the time to think about and recognize your achievements.

Talking about yourself in these terms is challenging, but you must practice talking about your achievements and value; this is the key to a successful job interview.


I appreciate that you’re busy and that preparing for a job interview is a time-consuming task; however, it will be noticeable to the interviewers if you have not prepared properly.

The interview question may sound straightforward; however, when coupled with interview anxiety it is easy to give an unstructured answer.  If you do not adequately prepare, you may leave out vital details or let your answer simmer to a halt.

Start preparing by carefully reading the job posting and job description to identify what the employer is seeking.  Once you have determined this, think of times when you have met the criteria.  Next, write out your answers. Your answers must be specific and detailed.  Your goal is to re-create the situation so that the interviewers can fully understand what occurred.  When talking about your achievements, make them measurable; this adds more impact.


Before going into an interview, it’s always a good idea to do as much research as you can. Review the company website and social media sites.  What can you find in the news about the company? Does the company have a mission statement and or values? If so, know them!


Be aware of your body language, eye contact and voice.  When you walk in, make eye contact, smile and give firm handshakes.


Smile. Make eye contact.  Thank the interviewers for their time.  Have a question prepared.

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