In my research with employers over many years, these are the 10 most common reasons for failure at interview.

  1. Arriving at the interview unprepared for what is to follow.
  2. Having a sloppy appearance or too relaxed an attitude to the interview.
  3. Not showing any excitement about, or enthusiasm for, the work.
  4. Not seeming to understand the requirements of the job properly.
  5. Not showing that they have fully considered all aspects of the vacancy, eg indicating a dislike of paperwork when it is clear that this will form a large part of the job on offer.
  6. Not answering the questions fully and giving answers that are too short.
  7. Being vague about details and just providing lots of unstructured waffle in their answers.
  8. Not being clear about their skills and abilities, ie being too vague or modest.
  9. Seeming overly concerned with what they can get from the job rather than conveying exactly what they are offering.
  10. Using pretentious language or jargon instead of normal speech.

Do any of these numbered points look familiar to you? Most people have been guilty of one or more of them during inter- views. Normally it is feelings of nerves that stop us from coming across at our best. We fail to hear the questions properly; lose the thread of what we are trying to say; totally forget the excellent examples that we prepared to talk about and feel embarrassed about blowing our own trumpet too much.