Job Interviews can cause great anxiety and hence preparation is fundamental to ensure success. Review of common pitfalls can be helpful to interviewees.

The following are 10 key pitfalls that I have seen candidates make which you must avoid at interviews:-

  • Insufficient real life examples
  • Oversharing
  • Lack of clarity on your why
  • Limited of knowledge of the business
  • Inability to explain career lowlight
  • Having inappropriate content on social media pages
  • Underselling oneself
  • Using relatives/family members as references
  • Not asking Questions
  • Not using support offered

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Insufficient real life examples

In an interview setting you should not make a statement without providing clear examples. For instance, if you are saying that you are an exceptional Sales Executive you should be able to support this statement from your previous work history.

As an example a statement like the below can be used to support that you are an awesome sales executive.

In my previous role I have been able to exceed sales target by 20% monthly. In addition, I was awarded best sales executive at our annual staff awards for XYZ Ltd for three years consecutively.


Answer the question asked and only that question in a descriptive fashion but try not to overshare as well. A potential employer does not need to know about the ins and outs of your previous employer.

This could be detrimental especially if this information can be deemed confidential. In addition, do not share details of what you did not like about your previous employer. This may not be well received by the interviewer.

Lack of clarity on your why

It is important to understand why you want to be a part of the organisation. The best responses should show how your career goals align with the goals of that company.

You should clearly demonstrate how you believe that from your previous experience that your skills will add value to the organisation.

Ideally, before attending an interview you should self-reflect to gain clarity on your career vision. This is helpful in creating an excellent elevator pitch as most interviewers tend to ask your reason for wanting to join the organisation.

If you are interested in creating your career vision, there is a free career vision workbook in our career resource library. Click HERE to access.

 Limited knowledge of the business

Once you are attending an interview you should be prepared to have extensive knowledge of the business.

Researching the business should include reviewing the company website, newspaper articles and social media channels for at least three months prior to gain an understanding of the business and its current challenges.

Reaching out to friends and persons who you know who knows the business can give you additional insight. 

A candidate demonstrating a clear lack of knowledge of the business shows poor of attention to details and lack of research. An interviewer may even deduce that you are not interested in the job.

Be ready to speak about the company in great detail. Researching the company can also assist you in understanding your why, which ideally should be part of your cover letter.

I have seen so many candidates rejected for second interview as they did not take the time to do their homework.

Inability to explain career lowlight

Be able to share when and where required experiences that you have learnt from. Interviewers are not looking for perfection.

They are also looking to see how you have grown throughout your career. Many interviewers may be moved by your ability to make mistakes and rise above these.

So have some experiences on hand and ready to share of mistakes you may have made at your previous roles and how you have conquered them.

Having inappropriate content on social media pages

With the advent of social media, you are guaranteed that interviewers will audit your social media pages as part of their interview process to assess your personality.

Therefore, all emerging professionals must be aware that a post that you make several years in the past can critically affect the decision of a hiring manager in the future. So think long and hard before you post.

Underselling yourself

I have seen several candidates who did poor interviews perform exceptionally on the job. This many times is due to nerves as a result of the interview process.

Therefore, it is important that candidates review interview questions and practice, practice practice. Preparation tends to result in well-rehearsed responses under pressure.

Using relatives as references

Job references both personal and professional must be from fully arms length individuals. These persons should not be related or close personal friends of the candidate.

This includes persons such as brother and sister in laws as an interviewer would not view a reference from these sources as objective.

If you are a recent graduate, you can consider using a teacher as a reference or members of the community who knows you well.

Not asking any questions

At the end of every job interview, the interviewer almost always asks if you have any questions. Even though you are clear on everything during the meeting, kindly have some questions on hand and ready to ask.

Not asking any questions can appear as if you are not interested in the role.

There are some general questions that you can ask at the end of every interview such as how soon do you require the candidate to begin in this role and what training opportunities does your company provide for its employees. Not asking any questions is a definite no, no.

Not using support offered

There was one company that I worked for which interview process was mainly situational/scenario based. This company did not ask questions such as tell me a time when you disagreed with your manager.

During the interviews, candidates were presented with mini case studies which they were required to answer from their perspective. The interviewer gave the candidates five minutes to think and structure the responses.

However, several candidates did not take the time that the interviewer allotted and proceeded to answer.

Candidates who did not take the time tended to present poor and unstructured responses. These individuals were usually not considered for the second interview.

Therefore, if you are in an interview and the interviewer proceeds to give you time to construct your response, even though you believe that you don’t need the time, kindly take the time.

There are other resources on this blog that you may find beneficial if you are preparing for a job interview. Feel free to click any of the links below to explore:-

9 Effective Internal Job Interview Tips

How To Ace An Internal Job Interview

How To Ace A Phone Interview

How To Ace A Skype Job Interview

A Comprehensive Guide to Informational Interviewing

7 Red Flags That You Should Look For In A Job Interview

35 Important Things To Do Before, During And After A Job Interview

21 Top Tips and Tricks For Successful Job Interview

How To Use the Star Interview Technique To Ace Your Job Interview

11 Essential Questions To Ask A Job Interviewer

5 Practical Factors You Should Consider When Travelling For Job Interview

How To Pass a Written Job Interview

A Comforting Prayer to Say Before A Job Interview

A Fervent Prayer For A Job Interview

How To Write A Persuasive Elevator Pitch

17 Free Career Aptitude and Personality Tests

Final Thoughts

Nailing job interviews are necessary in order to acquire your dream job. Preparation is the only way to ensure that you give yourself the best possible advantage. Hope this post assists you in avoiding  job interview pitfalls.

If you found this article helpful, I will be grateful if you can share it and leave a comment. For access to our free resource library with career templates, guides and checklists, click HERE to fill in the form. .Thank you in advance for your support as I grow this blog.

Job Interview Pitfalls That Job Seekers Must Avoid

2 comments on “10 Job Interview Pitfalls that Job Seekers Must Avoid”

  1. Demonstrate your interest in the company and the job. Know the job you are interviewing for and why you want the job. Be dressed appropriately. Turn off your cell phone and focus your attention on the interview and the interviewers.

    • Thanks Travis for sharing these valuable tips.

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