6 Job interview mistakes that you can't afford to make

Why you should always have an updated resume

There's a lot of things that you absolutely need to do right if you're hoping to have a successful job interview: you need to dress properly and you need to answer all the questions asked of you with enthusiasm. In short, you have to present the best possible version of yourself. However, there's also a long list of things you could potentially do wrong during a job interview – and any one of them could leave you out in the cold while another candidate is hired to work instead.

So, next time you're interviewing for one of your dream jobs – whether it's in the field of technology jobs, finance jobs, accounting jobs or something else entirely – run down this checklist beforehand to make sure you don't make any major mistakes. Even the tiniest slip-up can leave a hiring manager unsure of your prowess, so it's on you to put the utmost effort forth to ensure that such a slip-up never occurs. The following six interview mistakes should be avoided at all costs.

1. Showing up late
This is a simple one: you're never going to book a job if you show up to the interview late. A hiring manager will use the interview to try and gauge whether or not you'll be able to live up to the company's standards if hired – and all organizations will expect, at the bare minimum, that you're capable of showing up to do your job on time if hired. When you show up late to an interview, you're telling the hiring manager that you're incapable of showing up on time. That will always lead to you getting passed over, instead of hired, by the company you applied to work at. 

2. Changing your approach halfway through
Sometimes, you realize midway through an interview that you may have misjudged a certain aspect of the company or job at hand. Maybe you underdressed or maybe you overdressed, for example. Still, it's important to try not to "make up" for such mistakes by changing your approach halfway through. Maintain a consistent demeanor throughout your interview – if the hiring manager assesses you as manic and dedicated at first, then laid back and laconic later, they won't know what to make of you. And that will rarely lead to a job offer. 

3. Criticizing the company you're applying to work at
You may think that no one would criticize a company they're applying to work at – but you'd be wrong. Many hiring managers report that individuals come into their interviews trying to outline ways the company can completely change their approach. You may think that the company wants a "shaker-upper" – but the truth is, even if they're aiming to alter their offerings, they want a team player, not someone who will shout down prior accomplishments.

4. Not engaging properly with the interview
This is an easy one: you have to make sure you stay engaged throughout your whole interview. If you have to ask the hiring manager to repeat a question she or he asked because you weren't paying attention, or if you even just lose your train of thought while speaking, you're significantly lowering the chances of receiving a job offer. Nobody wants to hire an individual who can't pay attention! Focus intently on each question asked as a result – even take notes if you have to. It's always better to be over-prepared than it is to be under-engaged. 

5. Leaving your phone on
If your phone goes off in the middle of an interview, then you can kiss your chances of a job offer goodbye.

"The job candidates will say, 'Oh, gee, I'm sorry,' and reach to turn their phones off," one anonymous hiring manager explained to The Huffington Post. "But why didn't they think of that before they walked in the door? To me, it shows a lack of preparation. It's also inconsiderate."

This is the easiest mistake to avoid – but it also may be the easiest mistake listed to make accidently. Make sure your phone and any other devices that could cause a disturbance are secured and turned off before your job interview. By doing so, you're paying respect to your hiring manager, and to their time – respect that they will afford you in return. 

6. Not doing your due diligence 
We've said this before, and we'll say it again: you need to do your research before you go into a job interview. The hiring manager is sure to ask you questions about the company you're applying to work at, and if you can answer them with an informed tone, you'll immediately give yourself an advantage over the other individuals interviewing for the job. Always be sure to study up: it could end up being the difference between you being passed up and getting your dream job.