As recruiters we hear feedback on interviews every day from both candidates and clients. Whilst all differ, when it comes to reasons why people didn’t succeed in an interview, we regularly hear some key points from clients.

Typical mistakes

These are in no particular order, and some may seem very simple, but it is worth bearing these in mind whilst preparing for your interview. Clients often tell us that unsuccessful candidates:

  1. Didn’t come across as really wanting this role.
  2. Didn’t demonstrate the intellectual curiosity we need in the role.
  3. Didn’t demonstrate an understanding or willingness that this role requires someone to do a lot of administrative, detail orientated work, as well as adding to the bigger picture.
  4. Didn’t demonstrate the confidence we need for someone to work across the differing personalities of the stakeholders in this role.
  5. Didn’t adequately explain what part they had played in the examples they described, referring only to ‘we’ and not ‘I’.
  6. Didn’t answer the questions they were asked.
  7. Talked too much and filled gaps, second guessing what the next question was going to be.
  8. Didn’t allow their personality to come through so we left without an impression of who they really are.
  9. Didn’t make any eye contact so we were unable to build a rapport.

Often when we feed this back to the candidate they are surprised; they feel that the comment given was not the case and are disappointed that these often softer skills hadn’t come across.

Whilst it’s important to consider your technical experience when preparing for an interview, don’t forget to build in thinking around these points too. It will lead to an interview that has more impact and higher likelihood of success.


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