Guest blog: Mistakes to avoid at interview


Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

Mistakes to avoid at interview:

 Never, speak negatively about yourself, a previous job or a previous boss! Never say ‘unfortunately’. Keep everything positive!

 Talk too fast or too soon! It is absolutely fine for you to pause and gather your thoughts before you answer

 Overloading the perfume or aftershave

 Being late!

 Don’t forget to smile!!

 Don’t forget to acknowledge the receptionist and any other potential colleagues on arrival and when you leave!

Finish the interview in a positive manner. If you really want the job don’t be afraid to say so before you leave the room. Thank the interviewers and ask what the next stage might be and when you are likely to hear if you have been successful.

Other questions often asked at interview:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What has been your biggest challenge to date?
  • What do you know about what we do here?
  • How would your former colleagues describe you?
  • What has been your biggest failure?
  • What do you look for in a job?
  • Describe what you believe is an ideal working environment
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • What are some of things you want to avoid in your next job and why?
  • How did you feel about your last job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What contribution do you make to a team?

It is baffling but very occasionally, interviewers will insist on asking a silly question. For example: “If you were an animal, what would you be? There is no right or wrong answer… it is just the interviewer’s way of seeing you think on your feet or deal with the unexpected.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: or visit


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