10 Interview Errors and How to Avoid Them

Getting an interview is a great achievement but does not guarantee that you will get offered the job. By avoiding the following common pitfalls, you will be able to impress the interview panel and give yourself every chance of securing the role.

Error 1: Playing it Cool

Often vacancies have numerous applicants, especially for Teaching Assistant opportunities and therefore, seeming uninterested in the role or the school will not help your chances of securing the job. Do some research about the school before your interview and show your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Here are some tips to help you do your research properly.

Error 2: Showing up Late

Never be late for an interview;  aim to arrive around 10 minutes early for your appointment. If you are not sure where the school is why not do a trial journey the night before? Then you will know where to go and where to park so you can feel more relaxed before your interview. 

Error 3: Bad Mouthing your Current Employer

During an interview, do not talk about your current employer in a negative way; this does not come across well. Prepare answers to common questions like why you want to leave your current role and focus on aspects of the role you are interviewing for that appeal to you. By preparing these answers, you will be less inclined to waffle too!

Error 4: Not Asking Questions

It’s important to ask questions at an interview to show that you are interested in the position and the school. You are likely to be asked at the end of an interview if you have any questions; always prepare a couple in advance, such as ‘what is an average day like and what can I do to prepare for the role, if I am successful?’ 

Remember, an interview is a two way process. You are also interviewing the school to find out more about them and ensure you wish to work there and so asking questions is a good way to establish if this is the right job for you.

Error 5: Showing Negative Body Language 

Research completed by Mehrabian shows that words only count for 7% of communication; tone of voice accounts for 38% and body language accounts for a staggering 55% of overall communication. Therefore, displaying the correct body language is essential for delivering a great interview. Here are 12 body language tricks you can use.

Error 6: Not Reading the Job Description and Person Specification

It’s a good idea to re-read the job description and person specification when preparing for your interview. It will remind you of the key aspects of the role that you can prepare examples for and can talk about during the meeting.

Error 7: Not Preparing

Preparation is the key to success! Always research the school prior to the interview but also think about what you are likely to be asked and draft responses to questions. Try to include lots of examples in your answers to demonstrate your experience and competency. Here are the top questions teachers are asked at interview to get you started on your planning. 

Error 8: Not Dressing the Part

It sounds simple but not dressing appropriately can limit your chances of being successful at interview. Ensure you wear business dress that is appropriate to wear in a school and that you look smart and professional. It’s also important to have good personal hygiene and maintain a clean appearance. This infogram provides tips including dressing appropriately. 

Error 9: Making up Answers 

If you don’t know the answer to the question it is better to be honest rather than lie and pretend you are an expert when really you only have a basic understanding.  For example, if you have been asked if you have used particular software before but you haven’t, say no but also point out that you are a fast learner or have used similar software in the past. If it’s your first job you can talk about transferable skills you have picked up at University or school. There is also nothing wrong with explaining how you would approach an issue to resolve it if you have not experienced something first hand before.

Error 10: Oversharing 

You don’t need to give your life story at a job interview, try to ensure that once you have finished your answers you don’t keep talking as this could mean you lose track of the question or important points are lost. To prevent yourself from waffling on, take sips of water and look at your interviewers to show them you have answered their question. This tip is also good if you need to give yourself some time to compose a response before answering a question. 

Are you having a video interview? Here are 10 tips to help you through a video interview 

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