Common mistakes to avoid during an interview

5 common mistakes to avoid during an interview

Interviews can be stressful and uncomfortable for you but this is your opportunity to shine. The last thing you want is an annoyed interviewer. The following are the 5 common interviewing mistakes made by interviewees to avoid.

Using one word answers

No interviewer would like a one word answer unless it is a binary “Yes” or “No” question. Try to be verbose; use more words while replying the question. Make an attempt to ensure the conversation is smooth and comfortable for the interviewer as well. He/She might be just as nervous as you are.

While the temptation to cut short your answers might be there as you think, this is just part of my routine job – nothing special. Never assume that other candidates have the same exact same experience. If you do not mention your experience in detail, the interviewer might assume altogether that you do not have that skill/experience. The interviewer is there to understand who you are and how much experience you have, so help out by describing in detail your experience and give some background to each description. For further reading, refer to the simple STAR method.

Another reason why candidates tend to give too short an answer comes from not giving thought to the question. You might be nervous and think there is an awkward silence that you would like to avoid, so you jump right into answering too fast. The key is to relax a little, take 2-3 seconds to pause and think through the answer. You will feel that 2 seconds might seem to be an eternity when you are nervous, but in reality, the pause is natural. Furthermore, your interviewer would perceive that you are putting thought into the question. On the contrary, pausing too long will make the interviewer perceive that your answer is overly calculated and you will come across as untrustworthy. Next, this leads to preparation.

I could not prepare because I did not have time

Avoid this mistake of thinking that you can wing it in the interview just like the last time you got the job. As you progress on to more senior levels, your preparation time should increase as well. Interviewers can sense the level of effort put into the interview.

I have come across interviewees who are very intelligent and articulate, but when instincts tell me that the person is speaking based on confidence and not facts. I tend to start viewing/judging what is said differently.

It is one turn off factor for interviewers as they could just extrapolate how much work you would do once you are on the job.

I do not have experience in doing…

It is perfectly fine not to have all the experience required for the job application. However, a better strategy to answer this is,

“Um, I’m the type of person that if you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, I’m gonna tell you that I don’t know. But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer.” – from The Pursuit of Happyness

In spite of that, do your best to think of work experience examples beforehand to describe each required skills mentioned in the job description. You would be sure that the interviewer will be interested in knowing how much is the gap between your experience and the role applied. This leads to the next point.

Not thinking from the interviewer’s perspective

Look at your resume critically, view it from a third party. What are the questions that the interviewer would like to know about this candidate? What are the missing skills that another candidate may have? If you think this thoroughly, you are able to anticipate the list of potential questions. This way, you would not be caught by surprise.

Guiding questions to stimulate your thinking process:

  • How does this candidate stand out from other applicants in terms of education, work experience, abilities?
  • How well does this person get along with colleagues?
  • Why is there a time gap between jobs?
  • Why did this candidate accept a lower paying job from the previous?
  • Why has the candidate moved from one location to another so frequently?
  • How much self initiative does this candidate have to improve oneself?

How much will I be paid?

Asking the straight question of how much you would be paid at the end the first interview is not encouraged. While salary could be the only reason that you are looking for a job, it would be a no-no for the interviewer. The reason being that it would seem that is all you care about and at the end of the first interview, it does not automatically mean that the job was offered to you. You could come across as presumptuous.  You could try asking in a different way, “What is the typical pay range for this role?”. Better yet, research the pay for the job before applying.

Comment below on the frequent interview errors and bias that you faced in your past experience.


Do you fear changing jobs? Read this article on I am happy with my job, but I changed anyway.

Are you happy with your salary increase? Read this article on Average salary increase per year & inflation

Thinking of career progression? Read this article on Career progression: how long to wait for a promotion before looking out

Thinking of attending the next interview? Read this article on How to stand out in an interview? 5 ideas to make a good impression

Feeling dissatisfied with work lately? Read this article on Are you feeling disengaged from work? 4 simple ways to know

Thinking of how to choose your next job? Read this article on How to choose your next job? 7 criteria to consider before accepting

Thinking of career development? Read this article on How to develop your career and 4 steps to achieve what you want


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