What you definitely shouldn’t do during a job interview

You have a job interview, congratulations! What blunders should you absolutely avoid during your conversation with the recruiter?


Imagine: you are invited for a job interview. You have already overcome the first important hurdle. Now all you need to do is to persuade the interviewer that you are the ideal candidate for the job. Rather regrettably businesses sometimes come up against candidates, who have hardly prepared themselves. We have provided a few examples here of a series of blunders that you absolutely must avoid.

The name of your contact person? No idea…

Rather annoying: you arrive at a company for an interview and no longer know with whom you have an appointment. The receptionist then has to telephone each person in the company to find the right person. You can avoid this situation by simply taking along the invitation or the job advert and quickly looking at them again before you go into the building.

I’m afraid that I have no idea about what your company does

Often the interviewer will ask “What do you know about our company?”. Once during an interview a candidate answered to the market leader in consultancy software: “You do the same as company X, but they are the market leader”. Well of course you are not going to make a good impression… You also need to think about the job for which you are applying: what are the tasks and why would you be the ideal candidate for the job?

I think that you haven’t approached that well

“I would completely change that sales document and your logo isn’t very appealing either. I also visited your web site once and think that there is still a lot that can be improved.” Companies often ask for your feedback and for your ideas, and then you may give your opinion, but do not start off by criticising the company. You want to work for that company, so adopt a positive attitude.

Was that in my CV?

If the interviewer asks you to explain what you learned during your computer course, then you probably included that course in your CV. Make sure that you immediately recognise where he discovered this and do not ask “Where did you read that?”

I can no longer remember what I read about this in the job application guide

Many candidates prepare thoroughly by reading job application guides. This is a good idea, but remember that they can provide you with advice, but what is set out in them is not an exact science. But at all costs try not to repeat the answers that you have read there, just because according to the book some answers are advised. You need to stand out amongst the masses of candidates, and so try to present yourself in an original and interesting way.

I don’t get on well with my current manager

If the interviewer asks you why you are applying for the job, many candidates start by complaining about their current employer. For example, they might say: “My manager does not appreciate my work” or “I don’t get on well with my colleagues”. Try to explain in a positive way why you are not that keen on your current job. It is not always easy to explain why you are leaving a company, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for another job if your current job really is your dream job. Wherever possible, talk about the future, in this way you will find it easier to say the right thing and you will come across as being positive.

My strong points? I don’t really know…

You must know yourself really well and also know what you want to persuade the recruiter about. Somebody that is not able to give an answer to questions about his/her professional successes, strengths and weaknesses or motivation, is not only poorly prepared, but also comes across as being incompetent. You must be able to relate in a flowing and structured manner what you have already achieved – and that doesn’t mean that you just have to summarise all of the facts. Prepare answers to questions that are often asked and practice your answers with your friends or family if you are in any doubt.

I do not have any questions, I will be able to find out anything as and when I start work here

By asking questions, you demonstrate interest. Generally speaking, interviewers will ask you at the end of the interview whether you have any questions. Rather regrettably most people are not able to think of any questions then. Prepare questions, but don’t focus too much on this. If you ask questions about things that come up during the interview, you are demonstrating that you can listen properly. Your questions must also be relevant within the framework of the job. If you ask whether there is a cafeteria and whether you will have to work much unpaid overtime, then you will not come across as being motivated.

To help you, we are providing you with an overview of the most frequently asked questions during job interviews:

  • What do you know about the company/the job?
  • Why have you applied?
  • Outline your work experience
  • What are your most important achievements?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Why do you want to change jobs?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe yourself