Interview Mistakes – Phone and In Person

Written By: Sean Hill, Talent Acquisition Manager


One of the most nerve-racking things we have to deal with in life can be interviewing for a new job. Whether you are a seasoned professional or an entry level candidate, there are some common interview mistakes to avoid in order to perform well for the interview.


Throughout my career, I’ve conducted hundreds of job interviews, but I continue to see candidates make these common mistakes.


  1. Arriving Late To The Interview Make sure you are at least 15 minutes early for your interview and in the lobby signed in if need be. Showing up 30 minutes early, or after your scheduled interview time is not acceptable. If for some reason you are going to be late, don’t wait until the last minute to call your representative/interviewer to notify them.
  2. Unprofessional Appearance – Dress for the position you want. It is better to overdress than to show up unpolished in wrinkled or stained clothing. Make sure you select the proper outfit, brush your teeth and hair, and check yourself in the mirror prior to walking in. Check your breath and don’t smell like smoke or too much cologne or perfume.
  3. Showing Up Unprepared – Always have a copy of your resume for each person you will be interviewing with. Make sure your resume is accurate and relevant for the position. Have a professional portfolio with a pen and pad to take notes or read your previously prepared questions. Bring a copy of the job description with you so you know which position you are interviewing for.
  4. Bad First Impression, Lack Of Eye Contact Or Poor Body Language – Always stand up to introduce yourself and perform a firm professional handshake when you meet someone. Look your interviewer in the eye and speak clearly and professionally. Don’t slouch or be overly relaxed during the interview. Bring you’re A-game and enthusiasm for the company or the role you’re interviewing for.
  5. Checking Your Phone – Make sure your phone is on silent and stored in your pocket or purse during your interview. Plan your time to be unavailable during the interview and don’t check texts, emails or phone calls until you have left the interview.
  6. Bringing Drinks With You – Never brings coffee or large soda’s with you. The last thing you want to do is spill your drink on yourself or the desk. Having a cup can distracted you and make you fidgety during the interview. If you arrive and they ask you if you would like anything, maybe take a bottle of water depending on where you are interviewing.
  7. Not Doing Any Research On The Company Or Position – Always conduct research on the company you are interviewing for and have detailed questions prepared about the company’s culture and organization. Search the company’s website and LinkedIn for details about what year the company was founded and what the organization does. Research the position you are applying for and also what growth opportunities you may have. Be careful to not overlook the position you are interviewing for. You can perform company searches and reviews online or ask any current employees you may know about the company you are interviewing with.
  8. Being Too Comfortable Or Not Paying Attention – Listen to your interviewers questions and answer them quickly and professionally. Avoid using slang, cursing or having conversations that are too personal. Don’t zone out or talk too much to become distracted during the interview. Try to stay away from topics about religion, politics or race relations and keep it professional. Make sure you had as good night’s sleep and are fully engaged with your interviewer.
  9. Canned Or Cliché Answers To Questions – You are not a robot, so don’t tell the interviewer the answers you think they want to hear. Make sure think before you speak and if you did your homework answer with confidence. Don’t use terms like “team player” and “people person” or any other Blah, Blah, Blah answer.
  10. Bad Mouthing Your Current Or Past Employers – You should never say anything negative about a current or past employer. The interviewer may have a connection at that company and also feel you will speak badly about his or her company if you leave. As an interviewer, I want to know that you can get along well with others and can handle conflicts and resolutions properly.
  11. Not Asking Questions When You’re Asked, “What Questions Do You Have For Me?” Always be prepared to ask the interviewer questions. Even if you have interviewed with multiple people, ask each one the same questions. Their answer will be different from the other person because of the time with the company or role they play. Ask questions about the company and the other growth opportunities, and don’t focus on yourself.
  12. Forgetting To Follow Up – Close the interview by letting them know you’re interested in the position. Detail why you think you’re a great fit, and ask them about the next steps in the hiring process. Don’t forget to ask for the interviewer’s business cards so you can follow up with a thank-you email or hand written note. You should follow up with everyone within 24 hours of your interview. If you don’t do it, some hiring managers may think you’re not interested in the position.


Making these mistakes can be crucial in you getting a job offer or not. These may seem like small things to you, but I see people make these mistakes on a weekly basis. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner, because it doesn’t matter if you are conducting a face to face, video or a phone interview.


When you are on the phone, you can’t see the person you are interviewing with. The only thing you can control is your tone and ability to answer the questions asked.


The best advice for you in a phone or video interview is:


  • Have a copy of your resume, pen and pad in front of you with questions prepared
  • Make a copy or screen shot of the job description
  • Be prepared to speak about your background and why you would be a good fit for the position
  • Have the company’s information or website available
  • Place a mirror in front of you to Smile and project your enthusiasm to show them that you are interested in the position


Reliance One Inc. is a minority-owned, MMSDC-certified staffing corporation headquartered in Michigan with offices in Lisle, Illinois and Irving, Texas. Reliance One is focused on matching the ideal professional to a client’s specific needs for both long-term, short-term, or project based positions (including temporary, temporary to direct, or direct). Our sales and recruiting teams can be reached at 248-922-4500 or


For additional media support, please contact:

Kristen Latimer


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