Aversion therapy: Common interview mistakes to avoid

Most of Team Ribit have spent quality time on both sides of the job interview table, and yep, there’s definitely a less stressful side.

However, it helps to know that interviewers want to draw out your best qualities and there’s a few simple approaches to ensure you can bypass some common pitfalls.

Don’t: Offer long winded responses
Granted, easier said than done but the ability to provide clean, straightforward answers will make you stand out, especially when you consider that some interview panels will spend a whole day/s interviewing candidates.
Do: Research and rehearse
Look up common interview questions relevant to your industry and practise responses (especially with a friendly listener) which address specific examples and outcomes. It’s much easier to talk from personal experience and your credibility will also shoot right up.


Don’t: Hit the panic button
Some questions are designed to see how you handle pressure. One manager asked each interviewee to explain “Digital Disruption” so he could understand their thought processes – the final conclusion itself didn’t have to be perfect.
Do: Think about the steps needed to find the answer
Keeping on top of current affairs means always having background material to draw upon. If you’re time poor, newsletters like ‘theSkimm’ offer entertaining bites of news. Take a Journo 101 approach and break the question into ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to rapidly address core components of the issue, even if you don’t have the full picture.


Don’t: Not have questions lined up for the interviewer/s 
Whether you’re networking or in the final interview, show that you’re curious and engaged.
Do: Have questions ready to go
Have some question ammo ready to go. Examples could include:

  • If I am offered this role, is there learning I can undertake beforehand to prepare?
  • What does success look like in this role?
  • How did you get to your position?
  • What’s the best thing about working in your company?
  • What are your company’s major goals for 20XX?
  • Can you tell me about the rest of the team?

Don’t: Dive straight into the answer
*That* moment you’re

talking and the realisation hits that you don’t actually know what you’re answering. It happens to the best of us. A university Careers Adviser recalled her graduate days when she was mid-way through an explaining an answer when it struck her she couldn’t remember the question.

Do: Come up for air
It’s okay to ask for some time to think or even return to the question later. Don’t be afraid of a few seconds of contemplative silence.


Don’t: Wing it on the research
This may seem painfully obvious advice, however, many candidates are often stumped on the common warm-up question, “What do know about our company?”
Do: Read up
Pretty easy solution. Check out the company’s website, social media accounts and news page. No one expects a deep dive of the last annual report, however, be prepared to touch on recent developments or current projects.