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Five ways to totally mess up a job interview

A job interview is a nerve-racking experience, especially if you have fallen in love with the job and are desperate to land it

A job interview is a nerve-racking experience, especially if you have fallen in love with the job and are desperate to land it. No matter how prepared you are, how much research you have done and how brilliantly you have rehearsed your answers to any questions that may be fired at you, it is still easy to crack under pressure.

There are so many things that can go wrong doing the job interview – some can be avoided, but you should always expect the unexpected.

If you really want the job, you will know not to turn up for the interview in your favourite Star Wars T-shirt and to mind your language, including body language. Here are our top five cardinal sins that should never be committed during an interview.

Celebrate too soon

Don’t be tempted to go out the night before. Even if your good intentions are to leave the party early, this is probably not going to happen. Stay in, get a good night’s sleep, and make sure your clothes are ironed and shoes polished for the next day. There is nothing worse than trying to impress someone after only a few hours’ sleep or with a hangover.

Over-egg your achievements

It is great to be confident and list your achievements. You know your strengths and what you can bring to the table, but don’t come across as an arrogant know-it-all – you will rub the interviewers up the wrong way and they won’t be impressed. Answer the questions confidently and concisely, then move on.

Let your body do the talking

Many interviewers will have learned about body language and will be able to tell a lot from your body. Don’t do anything obvious, such as scratching your nose, as this could be a sign that you are lying. Leaning back could mean you are arrogant, while crossing your arms is defensive.

Sit upright, try to keep your hands in your lap, and look your interviewers straight in the eye. When they are speaking, lean forward slightly and nod your head in agreement with what they are saying.

Forget where you are

Even if you have several interviews lined up in a week, never forget who is interviewing you. You need to keep track of the company, its line of business and the name of your interviewer. Asking ‘So what does your company do exactly?’ is likely to terminate the interview.

Read up about the firm on the company’s official website and find ways of using the same terminology in your interview. This shows you are ‘one of them’, which will earn you a few extra points.

Lie

Many people will exaggerate a little on their CV or application form, but telling lies will come back to bite you; if you lie, you have to remember what you have said and to whom. Telling the truth means you don’t have to remember anything. If you lie on your CV about your qualifications or work experience and you are found out after you start work, you could be fired.

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