Cardinal Candidate Sins!

Professional recruiters share some of the interview blunders they have seen candidates commit. Whatever you do, don’t…

…Forget your place

I’ve had many candidates acting in interview as if they were doing the employer a huge favour by attending, which only serves to ruin any chance of securing a position. However highly skilled and sought after a candidate may be, it is ultimately their job to sell themselves to an employer.

…Forget to mute that mobile

I’ve had a report from an interviewer about a candidate who had interrupted the interview to answer his mobile phone, at which point he slouched back in his chair, put his feet on the table and began tapping away at his laptop.

…Shoot yourself in the foot

I know of one candidate who said “I hate being managed by women” while being interviewed by a female manager!

…Force your research about the company on the interviewer

The interviewer might be impressed to know that you have taken the trouble but you may come across as smart. Include what you have discovered in conversation rather than by producing reams of paper and charts!

…Criticise former employees or colleagues

It is important to keep the exchange of information as positive as possible. You don’t want a recruiter to see any negative baggage that you could potentially bring with you. Also, a recruiter wouldn’t want to think you would repeat criticism bout them or their organisation!

…Talk about personal or domestic matters unless specifically asked to

Firstly, how relevant is this information in convincing a recruiter that you can do the job? Secondly, by going off the beaten track you are in danger of boring the recruiter, showing lack of focus and displaying poor listening skills.

…Read from your CV or refer to notes

You should be confident enough to discuss and expand upon your skills and achievements fluently without referring to supporting information. You may, however, need to refer to prepared questions that you want to ask at the end of the interview.


It would be very unwise to take on the interviewer head to head, even if you felt it was warranted. Make yourself as attractive as possible without challenging the interviewer in any way.