Getting through to the interview stage of a job application is a great sign; clearly, your CV has impressed and the company wants to find out more about you. To continue your success at interview stage, it helps to be prepared. Here are some things to avoid if you want to impress:

Being unprepared

If you come in unprepared, at best you’ll probably encounter a few awkward silences and, at worst, you will be left red-faced when you face quick-fire questions from the interviewer that really test your knowledge of the role, the company and your specific experience.

Of course, you can avoid this by doing your research. Understanding what the company does and being able to communicate what you could bring to the role will show that you’re genuinely interested and that you’ll do a thorough job if you’re hired. Also, it’s worth brushing up on the skills listed in the job advert; for example, if you’re expected to know about Amazon Web Services then refresh your memory on the services, key terms and definitions, such as EC2, S3 and Lambda functions.

Lying about your skills and experience

There’s no point in telling your interviewer something that isn’t true. Sooner or later, they’ll figure it out, leaving you looking disingenuous. If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough relevant experience, you can call on the experience you’ve gained in other non-technical roles you’ve had before. Instead of lying to make your experience look more extensive, focus on the relevant skills you gained in the past that you feel could be transferrable to the IT role. You could demonstrate your aptitude for learning new skills with an example of when you’ve had to learn something quickly.

Not being engaged in the interview

Not focusing all your attention on the interview is a sure-fire way of telling the interviewer that you’re not interested in the position or what they have to say, so put your phone on silent and out of sight. You want to show your potential future employer that you’re good at listening and are passionate about the role, so try and keep your body language as positive as possible. Maintain eye contact, keep your arms uncrossed, smile and avoid slouching in your chair.

Reciting a script

Whilst it’s good to practise some interview answers ahead of time, you should avoid sounding robotic. Giving your answers in the form of a story will keep the interviewer more engaged so consider what questions they may ask (e.g. “what project or piece of work are you most proud of?”) and think about some examples you could use to demonstrate your skills and experience. Using the S.T.A.R. (Situation, Task, Action, and Response) method to structure your answers is likely to impress interviewers.

Being arrogant

An interview is the perfect opportunity to show your potential boss why you’re an ideal candidate by talking about your skills and previous experience; however, you want to exude confidence without being boastful. Make sure your answers showcase your knowledge, but sound genuine – don’t over-exaggerate or try and take credit for everything. Remember that employers will be looking for a team player who can easily integrate with their existing employees.

Being too modest

The opposite of the above point, if you say “we did this, we did that” in every example you use, it may come across that you didn’t take ownership of enough tasks. By first stating the team activity, but then clearly explaining your individual role and responsibility in a task, you’re sure to cover all angles.

Not asking any questions

Try and come up with three questions that really showcase your interest in the business. If you don’t ask any questions at the end of the interview, it could appear as though you haven’t done your research or that you’re not that interested in the role. It’s also a great opportunity for you to make use of the face time you have with the interviewer to gain useful information.

By avoiding all of these common interview mistakes and following up after to thank the interviewer, you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting the job. Good luck!

View our current IT jobs here.

Recommended articles

Top in News & insights

Back to top