What you should not do during an interview can be just as important as what you should. Yet research from Randstad reveals that, for many job seekers, simple interviews are going awry for the simple fact that applicants don’t know what that is (and isn’t).

In other words, it seems like a lot of candidates are making it harder to sell themselves, rather than easier, during what should be the most opportune moment in the entire application process. Worse, for a lot of these folks, the issue is that they’re committing common interview mistakes that are best to avoid. Read on for the six most common interviewing mistakes that job hunters admit to making — plus, how you can avoid them.

1. forgetting to do your due diligence

Landing a job interview is only half the battle. Equally important is setting aside time to research the company and the position beforehand. However, 23 percent of job hunters surveyed admit they failed to do so, and half say they’ve gone to job interviews they felt completely unprepared for. No wonder, then, that 57 percent of job seekers say they’ve had job interviews go poorly in the past.

What types of things should you research? Here are some areas to explore to help you prepare:

  • current challenges in the industry and company key performance indicators (KPIs) that will determine success in the potential new role
  • the company’s main competitors
  • what differentiates the company from their competition
  • required skills and certifications for the potential role

Doing this simple prep work ahead of time will keep you in the know on industry trends, too, and ensure you know what to ask, as well as what not to say or ask, during your interview.

2. arriving late

Have you ever heard the saying, “Early is on time, and on time is late?” Well, 14 percent of job seekers, apparently, have not received the memo and show up late to job interviews. And that can be a deal-breaker. Arriving on time —or early— to your interview indicates that you respect your interviewer’s time and that you are dependable. Give yourself extra time to accommodate anything unexpected, like traffic or inclement weather. Plus, arriving early will give you time to slow down, relax and get a better feel for the work environment and culture. This is a classic example of what not to do in an interview.

3. not practicing crucial interview questions

Twenty-one percent of Americans say they’ve answered critical interview questions wrong. So, before your next interview, review some of the most common and challenging interview questions. Preparing ahead of time makes the actual interview less intimidating and will help you develop responses that highlight your strengths. Additionally, you should practice extensively beforehand; role-play with your recruiter, friends or family members to identify and improve your responses. And if you suddenly draw a blank during the real interview, don’t panic. Just take a deep breath and mentally review your key talking points.

4. dressing inappropriately

According to an old rule of thumb, it is always best to be overdressed than underdressed. Unfortunately, 15 percent of job hunters say they have dressed too informally for a job interview. No matter how well you speak — and no matter how detailed your resume — the way that you look matters. First impressions set the tone for an interview, so don’t let your clothing completely derail it before it begins. Instead, dress to impress.

5. acting disinterested

Even if it becomes clear in the course of an interview that you aren’t a good fit for the position — or that the position isn’t a good fit for you, be respectful and give the interviewer your full attention. Sixteen percent of job hunters admit to acting too casual or arrogant during a job interview in the past — and that’s a bad look. Remember that your interviewer set aside the time for you, so be courteous. You want to leave a good impression, even if this particular position may not be the right fit for you. You never know what the future holds — and your interviewer could be vetting you for other openings, now or in the future.

6. not following up

Following up is a great opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates — unfortunately, it’s an opportunity that too many candidates miss. Just 39 percent of Americans say they follow up every time after a job interview, and 12 percent say they rarely do. Take a few minutes to send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time. Use this as an opportunity to mention any skills or accomplishments you may have forgotten to mention during the interview.

Let's face it, searching for the right job can be a source of anxiety. Almost half (48 percent) of job hunters admit to being nervous during job interviews. So perhaps it's no surprise that 78 percent of respondents in Randstad’s survey agree that additional help and guidance would be appreciated when looking for new jobs.

key takeaways

Landing an interview will take you at least three-quarters of the way to your next great opportunity. But to fully take advantage, you’ll need to act strategically — and avoid these common blunders:

  • forgetting to do your due diligence
  • not practicing key interview questions
  • showing up late
  • dressing inappropriately
  • acting disinterested
  • not following up

Be sure to keep the tips in this article top of mind — trust us, they’ll ensure that you’re all set to succeed. Visit Randstad's career resources for more tips and advice that can give you the confidence to get across the finish line.