17/01/2018 12:58 SAST | Updated 17/01/2018 12:58 SAST

Interview Mistakes That Are Hard To Recover From

Whatever you do, don't be late.


While most people will have prepared well for a job interview, mistakes happen.

"When we feel nervous, any little mistake we make can seem like something catastrophic. This is usually not the case though. The way you handle yourself can also tell your interviewer a lot about you, and may even turn out to be in your favour," says ManpowerGroup South Africa MD Lyndy van den Barselaar.

Here are her top interview mistakes that are usually hard to recover from – but that can be salvaged to one's favour:

1. You arrive late

Interviewers do not take kindly to interview candidates who arrive late. It creates a bad first impression, as it gives the impression that you do not respect people's time – and that's bad for many businesses.

"In this situation, acknowledge your mistake, but don't let it define you. Continue the rest of the interview with confidence," says Van den Barselaar – no matter what happens afterwards.

2. You answer: "I don't know" to a curveball question

It goes without saying that you should come prepared to answer common interview questions about everything from your strengths and weaknesses to why you left your last job. However, you should also be ready to face the possibility that you won't be able to answer something – either because you don't know the answer, or you never considered the perspective before.

For curveball questions, there may not be one right answer – instead, an interviewer might be looking for how you respond to the unexpected, whether you can think on your feet or not, and how adaptable you are.

3. You answer for the sake of answering

Some silence while pondering on your answer is okay. "Take a deep breath, think, and then respond. You're showing thoughtfulness – and it's best to take your time to create an answer you're sure about, rather than just saying anything," says Van den Barselaar.

"Don't try to fake your way through an answer." Not only can babbling be irritating to the interviewer, it risks you launching into tangents about unrelated matters, thus losing the interviewer's interest, concentration or attention.