An interview can make or break your career, but acing it can be as much about tact as it is about luck. Unfortunately, luck is not in your hands, but knowing how to conduct yourself is.

Getting ready for an interview is often quite nerve-racking. Until we get into the room, shake the interviewer’s hand and get round to answering the first question successfully, all possible, unfavourable scenarios pop into our heads.

But knowing the basics of what can ruin your interview will help boost your chances of actually acing it.

So, what can you possibly do wrong in an interview?

Dressing inappropriately – There is a famous phrase that, unfortunately, has become all too ubiquitous: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That quote is very misleading. If you’re going for a job interview to become an area manager for a multi-national company, then you need to dress in a certain way that exudes power and discipline. However, if you’re going for a teaching job interview, then you need to appear both approachable and decent. The important thing is to never be under-dressed, but to also never be overdressed or to make the interviewer feel uncomfortable. So make sure you unlearn that quote and replace it with Dress for the job you’re applying for.

Being late – You should never, ever, ever leave your interviewer waiting. Not even for one second. Yes, sometimes the universe conspires against you. Traffic crops out of nowhere. Buses don’t show up in time. Things go amiss. But always make sure you give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes leeway for being late. Also, make sure you never look flustered when you get there. It’s hard, I know, but it can make a big difference.

Badmouthing people or companies – Your ex-boss may have been difficult, but your interviewer doesn’t need to know that. As the saying goes, if you haven’t got anything nice to say, just be quiet. If they ask you directly about your past employer, just be courteous but firm. Why? Because one of the first things your interviewer will wonder is: Is this the way this person will talk about me should we part ways in the future?


Being unprepared – If you’re on your way to a marketing job interview, make sure to check out their past campaigns. If you’re on your way to a job interview for a sales assistant at a clothing store, make sure you know what brands they stock. Moreover, whenever an interviewer asks you: Do you have any questions for me? Always ask something, even if you know the answer to it. Just make sure it’s not a stupid question.

Answering a phone – For the love of God, put your phone on silent and hide it somewhere where it can’t distract you. Also, if you do forget to put it on silent, please don’t answer it. Just… please don’t!

So, in a nutshell, what you should keep in mind is that if you’re going for a job interview you’ve prepared for, then you shouldn’t face any problems! Obviously, not everyone can get the same job, so even if you screw up, don’t stress too much. Just always make sure you do your best. Nothing’s worse than regret.


Do you have any other advice for people who don’t want to screw up their upcoming interviews?