7 tips for a successful interview

  • 12-02-24
  • Richard Lloyd

When you have a great degree, the right experience and excellent industry qualifications, it can be baffling when you are given post-interview feedback that the hiring manager felt you were an “unsuitable fit” for the team.

A job interview is such a personal experience, but there are recurring pieces of feedback that come up time and time again as to why a hiring manager might deem a candidate to be a bad fit.

Below is the most common feedback that we hear from hiring managers providing job seekers with valuable interview tips. Considering these points will help you avoid falling into the “unsuitable fit” category in the future:

Looking bored or disinterested

You might be bursting with enthusiasm on the inside at this amazing career opportunity, but if you’re staring into space or looking like you’ve heard it all before during your interview, you might find the interview cut short! If you were hiring a new team member, surely you would want someone who at least appears to be engaged and enthusiastic. One way of avoiding this pitfall is to practice your answers by using your smartphone before the meeting. Play your answers back to see how you sound and look. Don’t be wary about sounding excited and ambitious, within certain parameters of course!

Trying to be a comedian

Many times candidates seeking employment come across as over-confident and accidentally say something inappropriate or offensive. Becoming too familiar, too quickly, is one of the fastest ways to appear unprofessional. Leave any jokes to the professionals and instead dazzle your interviewer with your skills and experience.

Confidence that comes across as arrogance 

It’s always worth keeping in mind when seeking employment that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence will stand you in good stead when combined with a little humility. Arrogance is a direct route into the “unsuitable fit” pile!

Inappropriate dress

Dress codes for interviews have shifted a lot in recent years with a notable trend towards more informal attire. This doesn't mean shorts and sandals should be your 'go-to', but it's fair to say, the tie has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As a general rule, overdressing will never get you into trouble; a smart suit never hurt anyone's chances.

Needless to say, a shabby presentation will hurt your chances irreparably as it speaks volumes about your attitude and sense of self-awareness.

Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression and if you are expecting an employer to invest in you, you must invest in yourself to stand out from the crowd. Analyse what your appearance tells others about you. Read our blog to ensure your appearance sets the right impression ahead of a job interview.

Bad body language and eye contact 

Lack of eye contact gives the impression that you lack confidence and are perhaps not telling the truth. A limp handshake is always a turn-off for the same reason and insinuates a lack of character. A smile, and a firm handshake, accompanied by eye contact will allow you to come across as personable, confident and trustworthy – all characteristics that an employer would want from a member of their team.

Negativity about past employers 

Having a rant about your current manager’s competency, your colleagues or how tough the job market is at the moment during your interview will not endear you to anyone. Negativity is never a positive character trait. Would you want to work with someone who has this kind of attitude?

Even if a previous employer were genuinely not well thought of, a new employer would hope that you would exercise a little discretion. Otherwise, an interviewer might be sitting there thinking about what on earth you would say about them when you leave the room.

Think about the type of person you would like to work with. Are they motivated problem solvers? Do they have a positive attitude? If you can determine how they display these qualities, it might give you an insight into how you are or aren’t presenting yourself by comparison.

Lacking substance

A hiring manager is a real person with hobbies and friends, and they expect their team members to be the same. Often, the hiring manager will ask an interview question to get to know you and your interests, and get a better idea if you will fit with the company culture.

Usually, a hiring manager is looking for a team member who has a personality and interests outside of the office as well as someone who is technically up to the job. We’re not saying you should spend fifteen minutes gushing about your new car, but if you’re asked to talk about your interests, it’s not a trick question. When answering interview questions, remember that the interviewer wants to get to know you better to determine whether you’ll fit into the team.


A little extra preparation and thought in the lead-up to your job interview can make all the difference to your chance of success when seeking employment. Keep these interview tips in mind ahead of your next job interview and you may have a better chance of landing the job!

To find out more about how to prepare for your next job interview or companies looking for candidates for upcoming roles, speak with the team from Richard Lloyd today.

Employers can put you in a situation, in which you have to prove that you are the right fit. Nail this situation by looking at How to Answer the Question: "Why Should I Hire You?"