This site uses cookies to improve your experience. They are safe and secure and never contain sensitive information. For more information click here.

3 Mistakes People Make in Interviews (And How to Overcome Them)

By Aimee Bateman, Founder & CEO of |

3 Mistakes People Make in Interviews (And How to Overcome Them)

Date Submitted : 20/09/2016

Aimee Bateman, founder and CEO of talks about the 3 key mistakes people make at interview! Check out her blog here.



I take a huge amount of pride in providing the best possible environment for someone to shine and show me who they really are in an interview.Within my role as a recruiter and now, as CEO of Careercake, I feel a huge responsibility to make sure I ‘bring it’ when interviewing people and by ‘it’ I mean the very best version of myself. 

I love meeting that amazing person; the one who has the right answers and the right attitude. The person who, after only 5 minutes of talking, ticks all the required boxes.

They are talented, positive, and inspirational and you want them on your team as soon as possible… (actually you secretly want to be their best friend).

So, now you know what makes me tick when I’m interviewing a potential candidate. But what about those traits that can really hamper your chances of an interview going well?

What about those actions, or the things jobseekers say and do that really turn a recruiter off?


Over the years, I have interviewed well over 4000 people. Some have been fantastic experiences, whereas a few have really stuck out for the wrong reasons. (If you’re facing an upcoming interview and keen to understand how to come across, please check out my Interview Masterclass Course).

Here are three (not so obvious) examples of ways potential candidates have lost out on a job.

Scenario #1: The ‘polite’ walk back to reception

I've been looking for a manager who will manage and empower my existing team. Someone who will help them achieve more than they knew they were capable of...and have a lot of fun along the way. The interview has finished and I’m walking the interviewee back to reception. She was great; I’m definitely going to call her this afternoon and offer her the role. I'm so excited!

I make polite chit-chat to fill time as we walk and I ask her, ‘so what have you got planned for the rest of the day?’ She replies, ‘I have a really boring team strategy meeting to go to’ as she rolls her eyes.

Huh? Excuse me? Did I mishear her? What just happened? I’m confused… I laugh back but actually I’m a little bit devastated.

Surely this can’t be the person that just told me she is a positive team player? How she loves building high performance teams. She is going to have to carry out a lot of team strategy meetings here, I thought.

Was it all a lie? Was that an actress in the interview room? Or was she just nervous and said the wrong thing? Did she think because the interview had finished, she was free to be herself and she didn’t need to tell me what she thought I wanted to hear? I honestly didn't know in that moment, but I felt uncomfortable.

I smiled politely and thanked her for her time, but I was left deflated and rightly or wrongly I didn’t want to risk it, so I didn’t offer her the job.

Scenario #2: First impressions start outside of the interview room

A client of mine once told me that they interviewed a top guy, who had made a great impression in the interview. He was a great sales person, who would no doubt add real value to both the bottom line and to the team.

Afterwards, the client went to talk to the guys on reception about the new hire. It was going great, until one of the receptionists confessed to seeing him spit out his chewing gum on their steps when he had arrived. I've mentioned this a few times over the years and it always receives a mixed response. It may seem petty to some people but it made a big impact to that hiring manager – in the wrong way and the jobseeker didn't get the role because of it.

The lesson here? Everyone is watching your every move. They want to see how you integrate, how you treat others outside the fishbowl environment that is the interview.

Yes, it may have been an honest mistake but really think about your manners, and definitely treat the company’s offices with respect.

On that note...always be nice to the receptionist. Everyone matters in every moment you are there. Everyone matters anyway of course, but we can sometimes 'zone out' when we are nervous and forget that everyone deserves to be seen, heard and valued, regardless of their job title or position of seniority.

Scenario #3: The small things really do matter

I once met a director of an insurance firm while at a dinner party who told me they had a camera in their lift which showed a lady (who had just finished her interview) punching the air victoriously.

This action led them to come to the conclusion that they didn’t like her cocky attitude or arrogance. 

I’m not sure I agree with that decision and I personally would love to see that positive, confident attitude in a potential hire, but again, it does show that even the smallest things can influence an employer’s decision.

I asked him if he ever gave her that feedback, he said no. I asked why. He said that he felt too awkward. It was easier to just say someone with more experience got the job. It's a shame that she will always wonder why. She may even have beaten herself up about her answers for months.

How can you avoid making these mistakes? 

Simple: follow my ‘One Mile Rule’

I refer to this as my one mile rule. This, simply, is to consider that the interview ‘starts’ one mile before you get to the location and ends one mile after you have left.

We all say/do silly things that we regret (no one is perfect) but please don’t let something so easy to avoid be the thing that destroys all your hard work. 

Just remember you have to be out of eye shot AND ear shot of the building or their employees before the interview is really over.

Need some help with an upcoming interview? Swing by the Careercake website for details on our Interview Masterclass video course.


Im a Jobseeker looking for employment!

Register with boxed Browse Jobs

Im a Recruiter looking for employees!

Register with boxed Browse Packages