Worst 7 English interview mistakes

We’ve all had a bad interview. However bad your experience, though, there will be someone out there who has a worse story to tell. And HR specialists, who recruit more people than most of us could imagine, have seen them all. We caught up with a group of HR professionals, who chose to remain anonymous, to find out about their top 7 worst English interview mistakes.

Getting caught out on your CV

It’s tempting to lie on your CV to make your work experience sound more impressive than it really is. Just don’t do it. One of our secret HR professionals interviewed someone who said he could speak English to advanced level on his CV. He turned up for an English interview and the only question he was able to answer was ‘What is your name?’.

English interview lesson: Never lie on your CV

Wrong dress code

This one was really common with the people we spoke to. The worst example was of someone who turned up to an interview in an office where the dress code was smart casual…Wearing a bikini! Just because a job is in a tropical country, don’t assume you should dress for the beach!

English interview lesson: Call ahead and ask the dress code

Old colleague new interview

When you leave a job, it can be tempting to tell your colleagues exactly what you think of them. Especially if you find them annoying. Don’t do this. One of the stories we heard came from an applicant who had applied for a job and turned up to find the person interviewing him was someone he’d worked with before and who he was very rude to when he left a previous job. Embarrassing for both people in the interview and certainly not a good way to get a job.

English interview lesson: Just be nice to people

Got the wrong job

When the interviewer asks the inevitable question ‘Why do you feel you are right for this position?’ make sure you know what the position is. We heard a story about an interview where the interviewee explained what a great teacher she would make. The actual job was for an office team member in a school.

English interview lesson: Make sure you read the job description and prepare thoroughly.

Making a mess

Knocking drinks over is so common in interviews that almost all the people we spoke to had a story about it. There was one, however who had an applicant come into the interview room with a wet patch on his cream trousers. It turned out he had spilled a glass of water on himself while he was waiting, just as he was called for the interview.

English interview lesson: Be careful. Or be honest about what happened and say sorry. It happens more than you might think.

Forgetting the interviewer’s name

Calling someone by their name is one of the easiest ways to make a connection with them straight away. Calling them by the wrong name is a sure way to lose that connection. We heard from one person who was called ‘Mum’ by an interviewee. Maybe it was an honest mistake. Even if it was, there’s not much coming back from that one.

English interview lesson: Say the name of the interviewer several times before you get there to make sure it’s firmly in your head.

Pronouncing the company name wrong

Some companies have names that are just difficult to pronounce. It’s always awkward when an interviewee pronounces the name of the company wrong. It shows a lack of research and just sounds funny to people who are used to saying the name.

English interview lesson: Check with the recruiter before the interview and check your pronunciation is correct with them.

So, these are our secret HR professionals’ worst 7 English interview mistakes, what about yours? Have you heard any worse interview mistakes? If so, share them and we’ll see what we can all learn from them.

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