The right HR software can add significant value to your recruitment procedures, and Jane Systems has spent the best part of two decades refining a module that guides you seamlessly from vacancy advertisement to interview to job offer to start and induction. People aren’t as predictable as software, though, and the path from application to employment can be a rocky one. Jane Systems offers you the tools to assess job applicants, but their interview performance is down to them. That performance can make or break their chances, and if we can do anything to help, we will.

It’s not enough to “just be yourself” in interview. Employers need to see more, and there are some things they don’t need to see at all. We asked HR managers in a cross-section of organisations to name their interview pet-hates, and the results were interesting. .

Don’t try to style it out

Not knowing the answer to a question isn’t the end of the world. Pretending to know and trying to get away with a nonsense answer, on the other hand, is a major red flag. It’s hardly surprising. Who would you rather work with? The honest professional who admits what they don’t know and shows eagerness to learn, or the blustering chancer who’ll risk their reputation and yours?

Dignity, always dignity

We’ve all had bad managers and bad employers, but there’s a time to share the details and an interview isn’t it. Even if the person you’re talking to agrees that you have a cause for complaint, they might interpret your actions as disloyalty, excuse-making or just plain gossip. One of the key tasks of the interviewee is to present themselves as a trustworthy team player.

Maintaining a dignified silence about your old boss’s bad points will serve you better than tearing them down one anecdote at a time.


What was the company name again?

You don’t have to fawn all over the person who’s interviewing you, in fact you really shouldn’t, but it’s wise to do your homework on them, their position in the organisation and, most importantly, on the organisation itself. Employers like people who come to work in the morning ready for a productive day. One very effective way to promise that is to come to an interview similarly prepared. Read about recent company activity. Are they growing? Are they in the news? Are they active in areas where you have particular skills? If you don’t know these things, you’ll struggle to demonstrate how you can add specific value. Just do your homework.

I’m here because, well, you know, whatever…

A sense of purpose is a good thing to have. In an interview, it’s essential. If you’re lucky enough to feel relaxed in these situations, then take care not to come across as a little too relaxed. If the employer gets the feeling you’re in their office because you just wanted to get out of the rain for half an hour, they won’t be impressed. You can be both completely calm and completely focused at the same time. Think of reasons why you want this job with this company and make sure you articulate them. Show them you’re not just looking for any position, you’re focused on this one and there are good reasons why they should offer it to you.

There are dozens of things that can rub an employer up the wrong way, but these four examples came up time and time again in our survey.


As the UK’s HR software provider of choice, we take a special interest in the recruitment process and we like to think we help bring employers and jobseekers together. So to all of you getting ready for interview, we’re on your side and we hope you get it right.

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