Here's how to avoid ten mistakes that hiring managers notice during interviews so you can land your dream job


For instance, in a recent article about job interview mistakes, Forbes wrote about how some job seekers lose opportunities because they give interviewers a stone-faced stare.

"You could be the most outgoing person in the world, but when it's time for the interview, you present a stone-faced stare, lose all of your personality and act like a cold cyborg," wrote contributor Jack Kelly.

In our previous job interview tips article, we spoke to Human Resources Support Officer for CANSA Gadija Abdulla who highlighted the importance of leaving a good impression on your potential employers. “First impressions really do last,”  she said.

Gadija explained that When applying for a job, you are one of many applicants therefore, "It is important that you market and sell yourself well."

There are countless ways a job interview can go wrong, which is why one Reddit user started a thread encouraging those in hiring positions to share the smallest yet damaging mistakes people make during job interviews. 

Here are ten mistakes you'll want to avoid, according to a thread by recruiters.

READ MORE: These are the 5 mistakes HR will immediately overlook your job application for


@Shaka_Sulu wrote: "Showing up late for an interview already puts you in the hole. Not addressing it or apologising for it will make it complete. Turn a negative into a positive and show you have accountability. Not addressing it shows you don't have respect for me and my time."

@Jessicacakes wrote: "I don't care if you're a little late if you are apologetic and seem embarrassed or regretful when you turn up, that shows me that even though you've met a challenge and made an error you can be humble about it, apologise, and move forward."

@Specklick wrote: "I have several times before told the story of a guy who came in to my old job with a torn suit and blood stained shirt to tell our reception he was going to have to miss his interview because he just got hit by a bus outside and would be in hospital when he was meant to be at the interview. And yes he was hired for a similar position after he had recovered."

Ill-prepared candidates

@AyronNorya wrote: "People that showed up to an interview in dirty sweatpants and a hoodie or whatever, and had no idea what the position really was. (Pharmacy Tech/Assistant) It happened more than once."

@Britishduffer wrote: "You won't believe the number of people that put something on their resume, then act surprised or defensive when I ask about it. If it's not something you can talk about intelligently, don't put it on your resume."

People who don't read

@Nevederex wrote: "if we ask you what's the last book you read, have a safe option at hand. Don't be honest and answer "Animal Farm" like I did or the interviewer will turn red and start ranting about communism."

READ MORE: Don’t include your photo in your CV – and other things that could negatively impact you when it comes to getting that job

Vague answers and bad attitude

@pays_in_snakes wrote: "The biggest one for me was always whether they were responding thoughtfully and specifically to prompts or just using vague interviewy language."

@spicy_princess "if they answer one question in a condescending tone, it's not a good sign. If they show bad attitude in an interview, wait until they have been on the job for a few months."

@Whiddlekitty wrote: "Treating everyone but the hiring manager disrespectfully. I was in a management position in fast food. I didn't do the hiring, but one minor responsibility was accepting applications that people brought in and answering any initial questions.

The hiring manager always listened to the other managers initial impressions of the applicants. So many applications were thrown out of the stack without ever being considered because the applicant didn't think anyone mattered but the person that made the final decision."

@Plumtree88 wrote: "When the interviewee ignores the person who asked the question and instead talks to the person they "think" has the most power in the room."

Cellphone etiquette

@83goat82 wrote: "I got a text message response to a voicemail I left responding to an application saying “hey, I’m at the Steelers game so I obviously don’t want to talk about a job today. How’s Monday looking for you? I’m available 8am-10am.” I didn’t even respond."

@princessxlr wote: "I called an applicant who answered “who is this? What do you want?” and I went on to further embarrass him by informing him I had wanted to talk about an application but never mind.

He proceeded to tell me I was a “lying” and that my area code on his caller said I was in a different city and he’s no fool. Literally the neighboring area code."


@Nickytwothumbswrote: "I once had a guy spend the entire interview explaining to me why we were literally doing everything wrong. He was just finishing up his bachelor's degree and had no practical experience."

@Willywag wrote: "There was the guy who, when I walked into the conference room to interview him, told me to have a seat and said "let's talk". In the interests of clarity: no, he was not joking. Let the interviewer set the tone of the interview."

@peachhandbetty wrote: "I cannot abide rudeness. Please, thank you, excuse me, pardon, you're welcome are basic. Disparaging comments about other people just tell me you have no substance of your own and I would hate working with you.

Arrogance is just another way of telling me I'm going to have to manage your ego and I cannot be bothered."

READ MORE: Is it still necessary to add references to your CV?

What not-to-do when too early

@dodeca_negative wrote: "Had a guy show up half an hour early to a job interview. Instead of sitting in his car going over his prep or grabbing a quick coffee like a normal person, he came in and as we couldn't adjust our schedule he had to sit in the reception area.

Fifteen minutes before his interview time, he asked the receptionist if we were available yet, or if she could provide my number so he could call me directly and check. "No" and "no" were the answers."

Rude candidates

@I_shoul_probably wrote: "When someone comes for the interview and doesn't say hello or is rude to the secretary, the receptionist or the cleaning worker, we will not hire them."

Going on about things irrelevant 

@Dustpuppysnr wrote: "Talking about your broccoli and chocolate diet to improve your telekinesis. This happened about 15 years ago."

Lying about your experience

@Still_slick wrote: If you have something on your resume, it's fair game for me to ask you about it. If you struggle with basic questions about it -- game over.

@Toxicpilot wrote: "My pet peeve was that lying about experience seems to be commonplace. Don't say you have 6 years experience in a tech stack and not be able to answer basic questions about said stack."

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of out hot stories and giveaways. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 674 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 279 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1546 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 556 votes