Top 10 graduate job interview mistakes

Written by: Max Ramsay
Published on: 13 Feb 2017

With competition fiercer than ever for good graduate jobs, you need an edge. 

Everyone's sat through a terrible interview, or had their friends replay one in painful detail. 

The rookie mistakes are still the ones that catch most hopeful applicants out, according to a study by Barclays LifeSkills.

People don't stick to one career for their whole lives anymore, which is good for avoiding boredom but comes with the downside of more of these pressurised interviews.

But hey, turn it into a positive and smash the interview with some simple measures. For example, the study found not dressing appropriately was an actual reason people failed interviews. 

So perhaps don't come “dressed like a hooker” (whatever that means), as Jessica Liebman, the Executive Managing Editor of Business Insider, once accused intern candidates of doing.

The basic errors are complemented by some fairly depressing blunders. 

The 10 biggest errors, and tips to avoid them from Kirstie Mackey, Director of LifeSkills:

1) Failing to do the research

Just do your research. There's nothing else to add.

2) Showing off

“It’s natural to want to impress in your interview but remember that showing off too much is likely to put an interviewer off. Instead of reeling off achievements, why not look to do something that leaves a lasting impression, such as giving them an example of work or something related to it that might be of interest,” Kirstie says.

3) Asking no questions

“Asking relevant, insightful questions is an easy way to demonstrate that you are interested and engaged. Plus, the more you make the interview into a conversation, the more relaxed you feel and the better you'll come across,” Kirstie advises.

4) Not acting interested or engaged with the interviewer

They're only going to hire someone they think they can get on with, let's be honest.

5) Making up answers

Not so sure about this one. Aren't all answers made up?

6) Lying about achievements   

“It goes without saying that it is crucial to not lie about your skills and achievements in an interview.

”Employers would be likely to find out about this when doing background checks or, even worse, later down the line!“ Kirstie says.

Yes you're friend got their dream job with a fake CV. It will still never work for you.

7) Not dressing appropriately

Better to go too smart than too scruffy.

8) Rambling on

Practice likely questions, and answer succinctly. You'll look confident and commanding. 

9) Failing to explain what they will bring to the role

”For every skill you claim to possess, ensure that you have a reason for why it makes you appropriate for the job and can provide evidence to back it up,“ Kirstie suggests.

10) Moaning about their current employer

”It’s likely that you’ll be asked why you left your last job or want to leave your current job - unless it is your first ever interview - but this is not an opportunity to moan about your employer,“ says Kirstie. 

Unless they really sucked, we add.

There you have it. We can smell a dream job coming. Or at least one where you earn enough to pay off that student loan.