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Industry Insights

Common Interview Mistakes: Employer Feedback and Recruiter Advice

Did you know that only 1 in 8 candidates manage to get past the first interview? Securing a job interview is a crucial milestone in pursuing your dream job. However, even the most talented candidates can sometimes stumble and make mistakes during the interview process, resulting in rejection.

We have collected feedback from over 690 first interviews conducted across Ireland this year. Here, we highlight some common mistakes our clients have pointed out as the reasons for rejecting candidates. To help you avoid these pitfalls, our recruiters offer valuable advice and insights. So let’s take a dive into the most common mistakes candidates make in an interview.

1. Inability to expand on technical skills.

The core aspect of the interview process for IT roles primarily revolves around assessing your technical expertise. Whether or not you are tasked with a preliminary technical exercise, it remains crucial to proficiently articulate and showcase your skills and problem-solving approaches.

Advice: Give examples…

A valuable guideline to follow is that if a particular skill is listed on your CV, you should be capable of explaining when and how you’ve applied that skill, as well as demonstrating the depth of your knowledge in that domain. The best way to do that is by giving a few examples of projects where you’ve applied it and the thought process behind using the technology of choice.

2. Inability to discuss experience

Candidates who struggle to articulate their past experience, fail to impress employers. A good idea would be to apply the STAR method when putting together your answer. That will touch on the situation, task, action, and result of the skill you are looking to prove your experience in.

Advice: Use the STAR Method…

For example, if you are asked to outline your experience in API integrations, you should start by summarising your experience and then proceed into giving details about:

-Situation- Projects that involved API

-Task- Your responsibility on the project in respect to API

-Action- How did you go about completing your tasks

-Result- what was your contribution to the project

You need to find the right balance between giving a detailed answer and talking too much, but practice makes perfect. Write your answer down and make sure to assign the time to prepare before the interview.

3. Negative remarks about previous employers

If you are one of the unlucky ones and have experienced a bad working environment or a manager that you clashed with, I’m sorry you had to go through that. I know, we are all human, and frustrations and emotions can play a part in some situations. However, there is a place and time for giving out about your previous employer or colleagues, but during an interview is not the place. Keep that discussion for your closer acquaintances and focus on opportunities for career progression, learning and development, and exploring new challenges.

Advice: A new opportunity awaits…

Think about the interview as an opportunity to start a new positive experience and this all starts at the interview stage. Negative remarks will only damage that clean slate. If you do need to address a previous conflict, the best way to go about it is to focus on acknowledging your mistakes and the lessons learned. The other party is not being interviewed here, you are!

4. Culture fit and interest

Would you accept an offer from a company you have no interest in? Or if there is a misalignment between their values and yours? 

It’s a two-way street and as much as you need to impress in an interview, it’s important that you get a good feel about the company and the culture to ensure that it’s a place where you would actually like to work. In preparation for your interview, you should review their values, and check their social pages and Glassdoor reviews to try and get a feel of what they are as an employer.

Advice: Ask the right questions…

But, don’t stop there, remember, you need to show interest. How to do that you ask? By asking questions! What is it like working for you? How do you give back to the community? How do you support your employees with their career development goals? What will onboarding look like? Their answer will give you a sense of how they treat their employees and what the day-to-day will look like.

Advice: Demonstrate your research…

Another great way to show you’ve done your research and that you are keen is to reference the things you know about the employer. For example, ‘I saw you are branching out into AI, that is so interesting, I’m very passionate about that field and would love the opportunity to be part of that initiative.’


Interview failures can often stem from these common mistakes made by candidates. By addressing these, candidates will greatly improve their chances of success. Our recruiters play a crucial role in guiding candidates to avoid these common pitfalls, to be prepared, and to thus optimize their interview performance.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and our team of recruiters for interview help and career advice.



author avatar
Alejandro Pino

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