5 common interview mistakes and what to do instead
December 26, 2022

5 Common Interview Mistakes (And What to Do Instead)

So, you’ve made it past the initial application stage and you’re feeling pretty good—as you should. However, the hardest part is potentially still to come. 

Job interviews are often both exciting and nerve racking, as they are the final step that stands between you and your next big career move.

Now, as accounting recruitment experts at AHK Accounting Recruiters, we know there’s a lot of mixed information and advice out there about how to prepare for an interview. One little mistake (or a couple) could be the deciding factor that results in another candidate being chosen over you. 

To help ensure you come prepared and ready to excel in your next interview, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes to avoid—and what to do instead.

1. Forgetting to do research

A major mistake many candidates make prior to an interview is not completing any independent research. By neglecting to learn as much about the company as possible before going into an interview, candidates put themselves at a disadvantage. 

If you run the risk of coming across as unprepared or uninterested in the company’s work, if you are unable to answer basic questions like “What do we do?” and “What do you think of our services?”, then it’s likely the job will go to someone else. 

How to avoid this:

Take time both prior to and during the interview process to collect as much information as possible about the position, company, and industry you’re applying to. Something as simple as clicking through the company website, reading articles you find online, and reviewing the latest industry news can help set you apart from other candidates.

In addition, the more you know going into an interview, the easier it becomes to tailor your experience and answers toward the desired role. 

At AHK Accounting Recruiters, we strive to deliver excellent accounting recruitment services in Toronto that help qualified accounting professionals connect with our network of industry employers.

2. Not preparing a first look

Much like at a wedding or big event, a potential employer’s first impression will typically be based on what you decide to wear and the attitude you bring. While it’s often standard to dress up for interviews, what many candidates forget to consider is the power of the details.

Everything from your hair to shoes, and even fingernails, could be the deciding factor on whether or not an employer feels you’re the right fit for the job or company. 

How to avoid this:

As previously mentioned, conducting research ahead of time can go a long way toward ensuring a successful interview. This includes determining what to wear and how to carry yourself going in. Consider reviewing the company’s website or social media posts in order to get a feel for the office culture, as well as dress code.

Now, if it appears to be a more casual office space, that doesn’t mean you should show up in sweatpants. However, it could mean a nice jeans and blazer combo will prove that you fit in. 

Also, demonstrating a positive attitude can often make or break a candidate’s chances of being hired. Obviously, you want to show enthusiasm and professionalism during the interview itself; this helps show interest in both the role and company. Additionally, this can be extended after the fact through a well-crafted, thoughtful thank-you note that reinforces your commitment to the role and keeps you at the top of an interviewer’s mind during decision-making. 

As part of our accounting recruitment services in Toronto, we offer the expertise needed for you to understand all the requirements and experience needed to be successful in various roles within the industry.

3. Waiting to ask important questions

Most candidates tend to follow the typical interview structure, waiting until the last few minutes to ask any outstanding or important questions they may have about the company or role. While choosing the right moment to ask your questions is a crucial part of demonstrating professionalism, it doesn’t always have to be at the end. 

How to avoid this:

An interview is meant to be mutually beneficial. The process should be as much about the employer determining whether you’re a good fit or not as it is about you deciding if you align with the company. Proactively asking questions when they arise, rather than waiting until prompted, increases the chances of figuring out fit early on. 

Doing this will also provide the employer with an opportunity to discuss the cultural and functional realities of the company, leading to a better chance at landing the position you actually want. 

When using our accounting recruitment services in Toronto, you’re choosing to work with an approach that makes connecting candidates with potential employers even easier, thus ensuring you’ll find the best fit for you.

4. Overselling yourself

Although showcasing your skills and experience as they relate to a position is important, so is being honest about what you can offer. This extends beyond basic interview questions, and includes your personal hobbies.

If you are caught lying about either professional or personal experiences during the interview process, it could potentially alter the perception a potential employer has about your character. 

How to avoid this:

Be honest from the start. Even if you feel your experience is lacking in some way or you’re hoping that a little embellishment will increase the chances of getting hired, transparency is still best. Not only does being truthful speak to your character as an individual, it also demonstrates a high degree of self-awareness and desire for continued personal growth. 

Keep in mind that first impressions are everything when interviewing for a new job. If you’re willing to lie about the achievements in your personal life, what does that say about you as a professional?

Through our accounting recruitment services in Toronto, clients entrust us with the responsibility to deliver experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled candidates who can excel within their role. In order to do this, we take the time to sit down and discuss with you how your experience can be applied to different roles.

5. Having poor time management

Although this may seem like a given, many candidates often undervalue the importance of showing up on time to an interview. Hiring for a new or existing role is typically a very long, tedious process that can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the type of company and job title. With this in mind, hiring managers are often very busy and have limited time scheduled for every interview. 

Being late (especially without notice) can indicate a lack of interest in the position, as well as poor time management skills on your part. A crucial step in getting hired is making a good first impression. This starts as soon as you submit an application, and continues up until a decision is made. Respecting a potential employer’s time and schedule goes a long way towards convincing them you are the right fit for the position. 

How to avoid this:

Once you schedule an interview with a potential employer, you should put the date, time, and any additional information (such as location) into your calendar. You can also consider setting a reminder on your phone or computer to act as an additional fail-safe. 

Plan how you will get there prior to the day of interview, considering commuting time and possible weather conditions that could affect your travel. On the day of the interview, make sure your schedule is clear. You want all your focus and attention to be on the interview, so avoid making any plans beforehand. 

If you are late for reasons outside of your control or an emergency arises, be sure to contact the interviewer immediately. Either provide them with an estimated time of arrival or ask for the interview to be rescheduled. 

Our accounting recruitment services in Toronto ensure that candidates can easily transition into the right position with the right employer without any unnecessary hassle or additional steps.

Prepare for Your Next Interview

To book a consultation with one of our experienced accounting professionals today and learn more about interview preparation, call AHK Accounting Recruiters at 855-630-0383 or contact us online.

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