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Career confessions: Common job interview mistakes

[Lou Bromley]

My name is Lou Bromley and I've been a Career Development Practitioner for twenty years.

[Michelle Patterson]

My name is Michelle Patterson. I'm the Senior Human Resource Officer at the Springfield and Ipswich campus here at USQ.

[Michael Healy]

My name is Michael Healy. I'm the employability coordinator in the USQ careers and employability team. I've only been in this role since March.

What are some of the mistakes you've seen job applicants make in an interview? I was on an interview panel once and we were waiting for about 10 or 15 minutes after the interview was meant to start. So, being late obviously isn't a good thing, but this person did eventually arrive and they barged into the interview room and they sat down and they basically looked at us like there was nothing unusual. We expected them to at least address it and maybe provide an explanation, but they didn't, so we continued with the interview. Again, at the end of the interview we said ‘Is there anything else you'd like to add?’ And I thought that that might be a time that you might apologise for being late and try to do something to, you know, make up for that mistake. Again, they didn't say anything.

That interview came down to two people: the late person was actually one of the top candidates and possibly would have got the job had they at least acknowledged that they were late and made some sort of apology or explanation.

For me that was the deciding factor between him and the other person.

[Lou Bromley]

Bloopers. True bloopers. Online interviews with cats flying in across the couch and attacking the laptop or attacking the person who was recording themselves. One where mum was doing the laundry because they set themselves up in the kitchen. There she is at the kitchen bench in the background. So, there's just been some classic examples, where you’ve got to think through what the environment is doing in a video as well as whether it's an interview in person.

[Michelle Patterson]

Some of the common mistakes that I've seen applicants make revolve around the question of ‘What are your weaknesses?’ When answering this question, I would suggest that applicants prepare for it and also be honest in in their response. It is important to be authentic as well in your response. I would avoid responses such as ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I'm a perfectionist’, or ‘I actually don't have any weaknesses when it comes to this job’. And I have heard that response before…