The Worst Interview Mistakes Made by Job Applicants

Getting a good job in today’s world is a full time job itself! A lot of persons have ideas of the kind of jobs they want but sadly, do not get close to anything similar to what they fancy. This article shares the worst interview mistakes made by job applicants.

You may ask; How do I apply for my dream job? Where can I find my dream job? What should I do to ensure I secure my dream job? What mistakes can I avoid in order to land my dream job?

A few job applicants were interviewed, for the purpose of finding out the worst interview mistakes they’ve made, and what they could have done differently if they knew better. The respondents were asked the same set of questions, which is;

Question 1: Briefly describe your worst interview mistake.
Question 2: What steps did you take to ensure that such never repeated itself?

The answers are recorded below.

Respondent 1: Male (22)

1. I thought interviews were focused on what you know about the company, and the position you’re applying for.. I was a fresh graduate and didn’t know more than the basics.

This is called my worst interview because I never expected the kind of questions I was asked. Like, “WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN LIFE”? “HOW DOES IT ALIGN WITH OUR COMPANY”? “WHY SHOULD WE EMPLOY YOU”?

2. However, I made the mistake of not being able to connect myself to the company as an asset, and convince the interviewer that my goals were in line with the company’s.

Respondent 2: Male (26)

1. Had an interview once where I was asked to do a presentation, contrary to what I had prepared for which was a test. The things I was asked to do a presentation on, were not hard, but I was not in the right frame of mind to do it. I knew what I was asked to do very well, but I couldn’t just put them together.

I was given another chance to present on something different which I had sufficient knowledge off, but I couldn’t. At the end of the day, my interviewers responded by saying “YOU HAVE THE CONTENT, BUT YOU’RE NOT EXPRESSING IT WELL, AND YOU LACK CONFIDENCE”.

2. My lesson from that, was never to go for an interview thinking that it would just be a written test or an oral session. After that experience, I learnt to prepare well for interviews such that whether I was to be tested orally or in a written form, I was ready.

Therefore, I realized that knowledge without knowing how to properly apply it in different situations is often a wasted knowledge!

Respondent 3: Female (22)

1. That would be the interview I went for at Banana Island towards the conclusion of my service year. I was so nervous, anxiety got the best of me.
Firstly, the interview was of two-phase: written and oral. The written phase was smooth but the oral was so disheartening. I had the right answers always getting stuck in my mouth and I kept stammering, I knew it was a goner for me.

Moreover, the hilarious thing was I had tabs opened on my phone browser, on interview questions and answers, but I just was not myself. I was overthinking it all, so worried and trying to mask it all.
Also, my CV had qualifications that weren’t in any way related to the kind of job I was applying for, awkward right?

2. So, I had to learn how to handle my anxiety better. I stopped overthinking, started taking my time before responding to questions. Also, I learnt how to rest all my anxieties when going for a job interview. Then I restructured my CV such that it could be useful in different fields.

Respondent 4: Male (27)

1. What I’d say is my worst interview mistake was once when I applied for a job at a media house. During the oral interview session, my interviewers asked me “How much do you think we should pay you”? I gave one highly ridiculous sum, because I had read somewhere of a person in such a position at a bigger media house earning that.

Although, I was almost sure I had gotten the job during the interview. But then, the interviewers frankly told me that they couldn’t afford to pay me half of the price I stated. They asked if I didn’t check online for what people in similar positions were being paid. I was dismissed sarcastically and I never heard from the company again.

2. Since that experience, even if I don’t prepare for any job interview, I always ask around and check online for how much people in such positions are being paid, incase I’m ever asked again. I learnt the hard way.

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Respondent 5: Male (28)

1. When I was to be retained at the place where I did my NYSC, I was too confident about getting the job. So, I didn’t prepare for the interview. Unfortunately, I was interviewed by strangers, which wasn’t what I expected, but I managed to pull through.

I convinced the interviewers that I was an asset to the company. However, I don’t think I passed that interview but a few connections at the company ensured I was retained.

Another thing that threw me off balance during the interview was that, one of the interviewers read my goal from my CV and asked me to talk about it. Of course I was dumbfounded because I didn’t even know what my goal was on my CV.

2. I learnt never to overstate my importance and relevance. I also realized that job placement is a critical thing and companies go the extra mile to scout for the very best (regardless of who has been working with them previously).

Respondent 6: Male (31)

1. I once went for a job interview without checking the company’s website. Not having any knowledge about the post I was applying for. A relative who worked there gave me the information and promised to help me get the job, he told me to just show my face.

The first question that was thrown at me was “Tell us about this company and why you think you should work here”? I didn’t know anything about the company. So, I couldn’t say anything to the interviewers. The interviewers excused me, and I shamefully went home, realizing what huge mistake I had made.

2. That experience taught me never to be over relaxed. Even when there’s a seeming ‘connection’ with an insider. However, I didn’t get that particular job and I’d have been shocked if my relative had been able to smuggle me into the company.

The above responses provide a glimpse of what an everyday interview session could look like and some very ‘avoidable’ interview mistakes made by job applicants. From the responses given, we would outline 7 common mistakes job applicants make;

1. Ignorance of how a CV determines if a job applicant would get invited to a job interview or not

2. Not knowing how to get accurate information on credible and available job vacancies.

3. Not realising the importance of doing a background check on a company before attending the interview. Even when you prepare for a phone interview, most interviewers would ask job questions about the company.

4. Inadequate preparation for a job interview. People seem to have a picture of how the interview would go and most times, this ends badly for them.

5. Not sieving through vacancies, to apply for the right ones that are in line with what you actually want. This can be the worst interview mistakes made by job applicants.

6. Lack of proper information on what job interviews are actually about. Many applicants just go to try their luck and to impress the interviewers with foreign accents.

7. Not realizing that a well articulated CV/Resume is the beginning of a successful interview. Some interviewers ask questions based on an applicant’s CV and so, job applicants need to be conversant with the content of their CV.

Written by: Chisom Mbagwu

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