Top 10 Interview Fails You Should AVOID

Written by: Laura Chetcuti
Published on: 14 Aug 2015

Top 10 Interview Fails You Should AVOID

Don't Bring Your Nan

I presume that just about every one of the viewers of this article will have experienced a job interview at some point in their career? Unless you are extremely lucky, and have managed to dodge the activity completely, then fair play to you! For those who haven’t been so lucky, and will undoubtedly endure further interviews in life, check out our Top 10 Interview Fails that you 100% should be avoiding:

1. Show up late 

This is an obvious no-no. You may as well make your own rejection call. Showing up late is never good. Especially in the professional sense and SUPER especially for an interview. If you can’t show up to the interview on time, what are the hopes that you’ll turn up as an employee on time? Even if your interviewer decides to give you the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn’t get too excited. Your lateness will have stressed you out by now; you’re probably clammy and out of breath. You certainly won’t deliver as well as you would have if you had breezed in, in the serenity of punctuality. 

2. Show up early 

No one likes a brown-noser! It will be equally as annoying for your interviewer if you turn up early. They will have to rush through that proposal they’re writing for their boss, probably mess it up, lose out on £10,000, spill some coffee and receive a disciplinary. You won’t be popular. They will resent you.  Just give up now. 
*In terms of the perfect timing, a firm ideal doesn’t exist. Everyone has their own opinion, but the general consensus seems to be somewhere in the region of 10-15 minutes before the time of your interview.

3. Dressing WRONG

This is a highly serious consideration. You need to be as inoffensive as possible when it comes to your outfit choice. You aren’t going to get a job dressing like Bart Simpson. Unless you’re this guy:

“I was called up by a recruiter and asked if I could go to an interview on the same day, while roaming the streets of London dressed as Bart Simpson. Surprisingly, I got the job – along with some interesting looks in the waiting room” – read more horrific interview stories here.

All interviewers will expect you to be dressed fairly formally. Even the wackier and supposedly more "edgy" industries! Business-like dress is the way forward for your interview and conservative colours such as navy, grey and black (not too black it’s not a funeral! (you hope)) work best.

4. Chewing gum

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a confined public space next to, or opposite someone, who is masticating a piece of gum to high heaven, with their mouth propelling itself wide between each minty gnaw. Just don’t do it. If you are worried about your breath, chew a little gum on your way (not as above), or suck on a mint. If you are really cool, buy some breath spray! 

5. Bringing a friend or relative

If you show up with your Nan, you are going to look a complete div. You shouldn’t need someone there to hold your hand. If Noreen has to drive you there, please leave her in the car! Preferably lock her in. Having someone walk you to the door and kiss you on the forehead as you part ways, is pretty weird. You are out in the big wide world now and your potential employer wants to know you’re serious. 

6. No Practice 

Do you think TayTay gets on stage to “shake it off” without memorising the lyrics? NO I DON’T THINK SO! Do you think Barack just “wings it” when he’s addressing millions of people on live TV during an international crisis? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Did Rose just throw that axe down on Jacks handcuffs, without hurling a pathetic practice shot into the sodden cupboard first? NO SHE DIDN’T! SHE ONLY GOT IT DEAD ON SECOND TIME DIDN’T SHE! Although it is sad that Jack sank with the ship.

Anyway, you get the point. As with all these real-life situations, practice is essential when it comes to the interview process. Compile a list of as many possible questions you could face, and write answers for every single one of them. Trust me; a stumble free interview is a dream!

7. “My biggest weakness is my excruciating punctuality”

Shut up. That is not a weakness. The interviewer isn’t asking you the “what is your weakness” question because they expect you to be like Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way). They want to see that you can identify where your weak points are and that you seek to improve them. No one is perfect and anyone who says they are is an automatic liar as well as completely delusional. 

8. Asking too many questions

Asking questions at the end of the interview is great! But don’t go nuts. The last thing the interviewer wants is to feel interrogated, Jack Bauer-style. You won’t earn any brownie points for incessant questioning, and if you stress the interviewer out, you can kiss the job goodbye. 

9. #HandshakeFAIL 

Arghhh. There is nothing worse than the moment you reach out to shake someone’s hand, to be greeted by a cold, damp, flaccid and just down right awkward excuse for an appendage. This will send icy shivers down the spine of your interviewer. They may feel nauseous. They may actually outwardly cringe (it’s all in the eye/mouth combination). A bad handshake is like passing a person on the underground,  with atrocious body odour and bad breath AT THE SAME TIME. One way to combat this would be to ask a trusting friend to test out your handshake. Ask them if it needs to be firmer, softer or dryer. They will tell you! Your interviewer won’t. 

10. Don’t call your interviewer Sir Alan as a joke when they invite you into the boardroom

This girl tells us her harrowing story:

“I did that once. I was young and impressionable. Taking part in a brutal, X-Factor-style assessment day. We had been whittled down to the final six. It was tense in the waiting area. One guy left the room without a glance or a word for any of us. He was practically in tears. It was serious stuff. So naturally, when one member of the panel opened the door to the almighty boardroom and called my name to cut the silence, it only felt right to say “yes Sir Alan” as I stood up. Don’t even ask me what possessed me. Your guess is better than mine. I got the job though! But I wouldn’t recommend it.” 

No one we know.

We hope these tips have prevented you from having any future interview nightmares! For more interview tips, take a look at some of our informative guides here. We advertise roles across digitalbrand and creative marketing to name a few disciplines. If you think you’re ready to look for your next role, get browsing