10 Interview Mistakes Young People Often Make

Ali Neill / February 5, 2019
Category : Candidate interviews, Interviews, Jobseeker advice, Recruitment
Caption: 10 Interview Mistakes Young People Often Make

Have you ever wondered why you never got a call about that job you wanted? Months have passed without an answer and you might be thinking that it wasn’t them, it was you who made a mistake. That leads to the question: what kind of mistake did you make?

Here are some of the most common ones to help figure out where you went wrong.

Not doing the research before the interview

“One of the worst things you can do is go to an interview without knowing anything about the company. Employers expect you to want to work for them not only because of the paycheck but also because you want to work with them specifically,” says Angela Davidson, a business blogger at 1Day2write.

Imagine their surprise when someone comes to the meeting and doesn’t know how to answer the question, “Why do you want to work for us?” You can’t just talk about something completely unrelated to their company. This doesn’t mean that you need a touching story to tell but you need to show that you’ve understood the company culture and that you share their values.

Having no enthusiasm for the job

You are skilled, young and you want to work. Great! Show some of that enthusiasm to the interviewers. So many candidates come to interviews looking bored and unimpressed. This doesn’t make you a memorable candidate – at least not in any good way.

Your employers expect you to be excited about the job. If you are not, then working for that company will be particularly challenging for you.

Once again, it’s important to do some research on the company. Study their mission, culture and values. Make sure that they align with yours and that you will fit in.

Not minding your body language

When in an interview, candidates tend to fiddle, play with their fingers, pens, make zero eye-contact and so on. Of course, some candidates are going to be nervous but eye contact, for instance, is very important. There are ways to improve your body language though, which includes power poses and being conscious of what not to do.

Just like you would practice your answers, practice your body language as well. Don’t let nerves get the better of you. Keep calm and trust yourself.

Sounding like you rehearsed the whole thing

Rehearsing your interview is not only normal, it’s encouraged. However, your interviewers shouldn’t see that. When possible, try to improvise a little. You can expect a mix of easy and difficult questions, so take your time when answering. It will sound more natural if you give your answers some thought, instead of reciting a prepared response.

Being arrogant

“Arrogance is one of the main issues with young people. They believe in themselves and that’s perfectly fine but not even seasoned professionals should be arrogant. It’s just rude and insulting to the people interviewing you,” says Jamie Graham an HR coach at Writemyx and Academicbrits.

Be confident but refrain from telling the company it would be lucky to have you or that other candidates are beneath you.

Dressing to un-impress

Another thing that often happens when candidates go for an interview is that they get too dressed up. As we saw in a previous article, the interview dress code can be challenging for some. Luckily, not all job interviews require the suit and tie. That said, you are there to impress the recruiters and your plain t-shirt and jeans will not make you look impressive. Casual but formal is the best way to go.

Negotiating money on the interview

The first interview is all about the employer getting to know you a bit better. They don’t get that much information from your resume and they want to see who you really are, what you stand for, what your true skills are and so on. If you ask about the paycheck too soon, the recruiter might feel that you are more interested in the money than the job. Save the salary negotiations for later, once you’ve passed the first interviews.

Not asking any questions

It’s impossible not to have any questions after an interview. Everything is new and slightly confusing. Ask your interviewers whatever you feel is appropriate. What are they looking for in a candidate? What is the most important responsibilities for this position? What additional skills would they love to see?

There are so many great questions that could set you apart from all of the other candidates that there is really no reason not to ask at least three of them at the end of the interview.

Showing up without a resume

You should never expect your interviewers to have a printed, prepared resume. Having read dozens if not hundreds of resumes, recruiters can’t remember them all. That’s why you need to bring yours and refresh their memory. This way you are showing initiative. After all, you are the one who wants to be hired, so why should they bring your resume?

Arriving too late or too early

Arriving late could make your interviewers think you are irresponsible and disorganized – no matter what your resume says. Now, this is not to say that you should arrive half an hour too early either. This puts pressure on the interviewers and they might resent your presence outside their door ages before your interview is scheduled.

Arriving 5 minutes early is fine. You will be there just in time. If you arrive 15 minutes too early, wait at a nearby cafe until it’s time to go.

Young people often make mistakes in interviews. This is not a generational thing but a result of inexperience. Some employers understand that but some don’t. Hopefully, this list will help you avoid these mistakes.


Joel Syder works as a professional trainer and content writer with Origin Writings and Australia2write. He loves helping young people realize their true potential by educating them. Joel also likes writing articles for various online publications like Brit student.

Author: Ali Neill

As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.

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