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5 more common interview mistakes and how to avoid them

Rebecca Rich our consultant managing the role
Rebecca Rich our consultant managing the role
Posted: 04/11/2022

With over two decades of recruiting experience in the life science industry, we have seen a few common mistakes that are made in interviews among candidates. As we receive the feedback from the hiring managers, we get to know what they are looking for in a candidate, what they don’t like, and what they do.

Luckily, all these mistakes can be avoided if you know what they are and take steps to avert them. We previously wrote about 5 common interview mistakes and how to avoid them – since then our recruiting specialists have given us even more red flags that hiring managers see in interviews.


1. Negative body language


55% of hiring managers have said if the candidate displays negative body language during an interview, this would be the deal breaker.

The life science industry is highly competitive, and unknowingly giving off negative body language during an interview can make you appear disinterested. Negative body language could also signal to the hiring manager that you could be challenging to work with.

Signs of negative body language:

  • Slouching or swinging in your seat
  • Fidgeting or clenching your hands
  • Crossing your arms
  • Avoiding eye-contact


To avoid this: 

Listen attentively and keep an eye on your body language. Make sure you engage every person conducting the interview by maintaining eye contact, smiling warmly, and using open and inclusive gestures when answering.

If you practice your questions beforehand and feel prepared, this can also help you feel more relaxed, reduce fidgeting, and highlight what body language you could improve.


2. Talking negatively about current or previous employers


50% of hiring managers say being negative about your existing or previous employer is a red flag. Not only will it send the interview off on a negative tangent, your interviewer may also speculate on what part you played in the breakdown of your relationship with them.

Even if you have a valid grievance with your previous employer, bad mouthing others can make you seem bitter and reflect negatively on your character.  

To avoid this: 

Whilst it may be necessary and even humanising to talk about bad experiences, focus on the job you are there for. Don’t linger on the negatives of your previous role, but refocus them to highlight your excitement for this new opportunity.

Lead the conversation to highlight less on what was wrong and more on what you would do to be able to achieve in a supportive environment. 


3. Giving examples without evidence


It’s one thing to say what skills and success you’ve had, but hiring managers will always prefer to see evidence demonstrating these qualities.

Evidence can greatly increase the impressiveness of your claims and while not all projects are catered to displaying quantitative results, providing data can be more powerful than simply telling the hiring managers something went well.

To avoid this: 

Prepare your examples in advance and collate evidence of your successes. Quantitative data and statistics are impactful, but it can also help to share documents, press releases, or posts relating to projects you’ve worked on, and the wider impact your involvement had on your colleagues and the company’s mission.

Examples will help you stand out and bring credibility to your descriptions so show – not just tell – when you can.


4. Failing to research the company


This is one of the biggest turn-offs for any hiring manager. Failing to do research about the company beforehand can set a bad tone for the interview straight away. It can be very awkward and disarming to have to answer a question about the company when you are not prepared.

Not only can this throw you off, but it can make you seem disinterested in the opportunity, and you will stand out for the wrong reasons. 

To avoid this: 

Look into the company’s projects and mission, re-read the job description for the role you’ve applied for, and research any major news about the company.

Not only will this help you better respond to questions, but it will also give you a clearer idea into whether this is an opportunity you want to pursue and help you frame your own questions.


5. Neglecting to follow up


Do you follow up with the hiring manager after your interview? It’s a good practice to get in the habit of doing so. This can help you look more enthusiastic towards the role and gives you an opportunity for some feedback.

Another missed opportunity is forgetting to follow up with your recruiter after the interview. They would have a scheduled call with the hiring manager and will be able to tell you how you did, and give you an idea of the outcome and next steps.

To avoid this: 

Give yourself at least 24 hours to thank the hiring manager for their time and how you enjoyed learning more about the role and the company.Sending one email is sufficient – you don’t want to overkill with the communication

Don’t forget to call your recruiter an hour after the interview – at this point they should have feedback about the interview themselves.


Preparation is key


An interview is possibly the most stressful part of the recruitment process. With our experience in recruiting for the life science industry, we fully understand the hiring needs of employers – from large corporate organisations to small start-ups. By working with us we can make sure you are well-prepared for your interview which will decrease your nerves and stress. Our experienced recruiters will also know how to represent you in the best way to the hiring manager.

If you need help answer interview questions confidently, our specialist life sciences recruiters have collated their guidance within our career advice articles to make sure you are fully prepared before an interview.

Do you have an interview coming up?
One of the most common questions we get asked from our candidate’s is “How to close a job interview successfully?”.

Looking for the next stage in your life sciences career?
From Biometrics to Quality Assurance and Clinical Operation to Market Access, our recruiters are experts in their specific functions and can help you secure your next role. Find a recruiter in your specialism here.

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