The 10 Most Careless Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid Don't bungle your next job interview by doing one of these things.

By Rich DiTieri

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

ONOKY | Eric Audras | Getty Images

If you've ever been on the job hunt, you know how big of a deal landing that first interview can be. At Startup Institute, we work with web development, digital marketing, web design and sales students to help them skill up, and ultimately find a job at an innovative company. In my time working with hiring partner companies and students at our bootcamp, I've seen some truly "unique" stories around how job interviews get bungled. Read on for some of the simple, but surprisingly common, mistakes I see people making that are worth being mindful of for your next big interview.

1. Not downloading the app

One of the first questions interviewers ask will always be "What do you know about us?" Being able to say "I downloaded the app" or "I subscribed to the newsletter" goes a long way in that it shows you're not only doing research into the company, but openly interested in immersing yourself in the product or service. On the flipside, if you didn't take the time to sign up for the service, you're putting yourself at risk of not truly knowing how to adequately answer that question.

Related: 10 Interview Tips for Tech Companies

2. Being negative

With first round interviews, you really only get one first impression. It's not uncommon to be asked why you're leaving a job, so it's important to think of a positive answer around it, and not fall into the easier trap of commenting on negative reasons you're no longer interested in working there. It's easy for interviewers to take a negative response and think, Will he be saying that about us in a few months? Positivity should always be the direction you take when interviewing with a potential future employer.

3. Actually just telling them about yourself

All interviewers are going to ask you to tell them about yourself. That's because they probably didn't have time to memorize your background, and it's a great way to let candidates position themselves and see how they do. Open ended questions are a great way to learn. The thing is, they don't want to know your life story; they want to hear about how your background is relevant to them. If you don't have a personal narrative, and you haven't customized it for the role and company, you're not addressing the question from the right angle.

Related: How to Master the Interview

4. Forgetting Google exists

Have you ever asked someone how her boyfriend is doing, or how a job is going, and been met with "oh, we broke up" or "I actually don't work there anymore"? It's painfully awkward. Well, the same can happen in interviews if you've missed big news about the company. Whenever we work with students and alumni, before a big interview we'll go down a checklist to make sure they've done due diligence, and this seems to be a common mistake that slips through the cracks.

5. Forgetting LinkedIn exists

LinkedIn has forever changed the job search game when it comes to equipping you with useful information about the people you'll be interviewing with. It's not just about looking up the company you'll be interviewing at -- it's just as important to get a better idea of the people you'll be interviewing with. Look for things in common with your interviewer and try to identify talking points. Just ensure you avoid asking basic questions that show you didn't do any research.

Related: Here's the Perfect Email Template to Land a Job Interview

6. Not speaking to your audience

Interviewing can often be a very nerve-wracking experience. Try your best to keep composure and avoid going off on tangents. Remember, you're interviewing for a job, so all of your answers should be focused on how you can help the company. Keep your eyes on the prize. The interviewers will be doing the same.

7. Not preparing for the obvious

There are a handful of interview questions you're all but guaranteed to be asked. You should have already practiced your basic answers for these. There's a certain confidence boost when questions you've been prepping for get asked, and that boost in confidence will help carry you through the whole interview. You got this!

8. Going too fast

A few seconds of silence isn't as painful to them as it is to you. Practice pausing before answering, giving you time to collect your thoughts, build composure and answer deliberately. This gives you a chance to form a headline for your answer, and then drill down on details.

Related: How to Know When to Stop Talking and Other Interview Hacks

9. Not being yourself

Counter-intuitively, being yourself takes practice. People can tell when you're not yourself almost immediately. Record yourself. Listen to your tone. Are you robotic? Are you suddenly three times as loud or energetic as you normally are? If interviewers feel you're not being authentic, it can make them not confident in moving forward with your candidacy.

10. Not understanding the "next steps"

When we work with Startup Institute students who have gone through our courses and begin to hit the job market, we'll help them land interviews, coach them leading up to it and follow up after to see how it went. One thing I've noticed is that it's common for interviewees to forget to ask, "what's next?" Leaving an interview with no idea of what to expect next can lead to unnecessary anxiety around when to expect a follow-up call, if you're still being considered for the role, or even just how to best follow up if you don't hear back in a few days. After the interview ends, don't let nerves get in the way of finding out who your post-interview contact is and when a good time to follow up would be. Your sleep cycle will thank you!

Rich DiTieri

CEO of Startup Institute

Rich DiTieri is the CEO of Startup Institute. He is driven by a need to be high-impact and help others succeed, and empowered by a deep understanding of business development, web technologies and product design.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

Costco Isn't Facing Devastating Surges in Theft Like Target and Walmart — and the Reason Is Very Simple

The retailer's CFO revealed its strategy during a fourth-quarter-earnings call.

Business News

'Please Fix This': Elon Musk Frantically Emails Employees During Livestream Glitch

Musk attempted to livestream his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.


Want to Improve Your Brand's Storytelling? Shift Your POV to Tell a Better Narrative. Here's How.

In a crowded digital media environment of voluntary engagement, brand storytelling isn't enough to grab attention. You must approach the story from the right perspective — your customer's.


Invest in Your Team or Fall Behind – 3 Ways to Upskill Your Team with Continuous Training

Any business that isn't investing in expanding its technical skills and soft skills is not a worthy competitor.

Business News

'We Will Not Be Able to Fund Payroll': Upscale Lingerie Company Has Reportedly Not Paid Employees in a Month

A new email obtained by the New York Post shows that La Perla does not have the funds to pay its employees.