You’ve been looking for a new job for ages and not just any job, but THE job. Your dream job or the job that you know will lead you to your dream job. Finally, you’ve found it. Of course, you’re going to do everything you can to be the successful candidate and get the final offer. But what about the things you definitely shouldn’t do?

There are lots of things you should do when it comes to finding and landing your dream job. From using the right job search strategy to being prepared for that all important interview, to negotiating a better salary. But there are also some things you should definitely avoid doing. Here’s how not to get your dream job by making those avoidable mistakes.

1. You Showed Up Unprepared For The Interview and Knew Nothing About The Company 

You’ve finally got the interview, you’ve arrived on time and you’re feeling good. Then it happens, the interviewer asks you “ what do you know about the company?”

This questions should come as no surprise, after all, if you’ve made it this far, chances are, you’ve done your research, right? 

If you’re interested in a job, you need to do your research and make sure that you ask the recruiter as many questions as possible. Because one of the quickest ways to stop yourself from getting your dream job is to turn up unprepared and look like you couldn’t be bothered.

2. You Have No Idea What Roles or Which Companies You’ve Applied To 

You’ve applied for a role and you get the call. On the other end, it’s the recruiter asking you if it’s a good time to discuss your application for x position. 

Naturally, the expected response is something along the lines of- “yes, of course, I remember, and yes, I can talk” or “Thank you for calling but now’s not a good time…”

But these are definitely not the only two responses that recruiters get.

Here’s what not to say when a recruiter calls to discuss your application:


I’ve applied to so many things I don’t know what role you’re talking about … 


… Who are you again?… Which company is this…. ? .. I don’t know what you’re talking about

What this tells the recruiter: 

Your “spraying and praying,” that’s recruitment lingo for applying to anything and everything without a second thought. And not doing any research into the job or company for that matter before making applications. 

What to Do Instead: 

Blindly sending out applications is not the best approach for a successful job search. 

It’s understandable that things can get frantic, given that you’re busy trying to find a new job and going to interviews all while still keeping on top of everything in your current job. 

If you are applying to a high number of positions the best thing to do is to track your applications as you go. This way, you can keep on top of the companies you’ve applied to and you have a document to refer back to throughout your job search process. 

While you probably won’t have a spreadsheet to hand when the recruiter calls, the simple act of tracking and organizing your applications in this way will make things a lot easier to remember.  

If you’re not in the best position to talk and you’ve been caught off guard, you’re probably better off asking for a call back at another time. Don’t forget to take their details so you can look into it before that next call! 

3. You Don’t Have Time To Attend An Interview (For The Foreseeable Future)

One of the things that make looking for a new job so hard is the difficulty in finding the time. Time to sort out your CV, time to make those applications, time to follow up, time to network, time to attend interviews. It all takes a lot of time and you might not have the luxury of being able to take random days off at short notice.

But here’s the thing, you can’t get an offer without going to an interview. So at some point, you will need to make the time to go to one or realistically more than one and you need to be prepared for this. 

Of course, you don’t want to P**s! Off your current employer and lose the job you already have, to interview for a job you might not get. But you might need to be flexible and be prepared to move things around in order to make things happen.  

If you really don’t have time to go to any interviews for at least the next month or more, it’s worth highlighting this upfront or holds off starting your job search until a time when you can. 

Being committed to the job you have is great quality and one that any future employer will value, but if you’re about to cancel the interview for the 3rd or 4th time, then you might need to consider putting your job search on hold. 

4. You Arrived Seriously Late For The Interview 

There are times in life when it’s not cool to be fashionably late, and an interview is one of those times.  

Turning up late to an interview puts you on the back foot. Firstly, you never know who you’ll be meeting. There are some people for whom lateness will absolutely not be tolerated. I’ve known hiring managers refuse to see candidates who were 15 minutes late. On the other hand, I’ve also known managers who went on with the interview after waiting for 45 minutes! 

Both candidates did not get the job. 

Showing up late to an interview signals a lack of respect for people’s time and an inability to manage your own time, both of which are definitely not the message you want to be giving your potential boss. 

So, while extenuating circumstances can happen, make sure you do everything in your power to mitigate the possibility of showing up late so that you’re not starting off on the wrong foot. 

Always aim to arrive at reception 10 – 15 minutes early. This shows that you’re organized, prepared and respectful. 

What if you arrive more than 15 minutes early? 

While 15 minutes is just fine, there is definitely a cut off for earliness. I once had a candidate arrive a day early! 

If you do arrive super early then it might be worth spending a little time in the car mentally preparing, going for a coffee or going for a short walk around the block to clear your head. Clearly if you’ve got the wrong day then none of these will do. 

5. You’re Obviously After  A Different Job 

You might have applied for a certain job because it’s a step closer towards the job you ultimately want, and that’s fine. It’s natural to take one job as a stepping stone towards another. 

As long as you can articulate your motivations in the right way during the interview. Talk about what interests you about this role now, and show that you aren’t just seeing it as a stepping stone but as a real opportunity you’re prepared to commit to. 

There’s a difference between understanding how much you can learn from a role and seeing how valuable it will be in your long term career development and progression, compared to accepting a job because it’ll do until something better comes along. 

No matter how urgently a company needs to hire someone and how much a hiring manager wants someone in that position, no one in the role will always trump a person that doesn’t really want to be there.

In this day and age, and with some positions, in particular, it’s already expected that you won’t be there forever but giving off the impression that you’re not that interested and you have no intention of giving it your all is a  great way to not get to the job of your dreams.

6. You’re Having Last Minute Thoughts About Relocating

You were happy to relocate when you applied for the job and have been throughout the process, but now you need to think about it. What gives?! 

Relocating is a big deal and something you can’t take lightly, that’s why the key issue here is ” last minute”. If you’re only just thinking about the reality of what it means to relocate when the offer comes through, then there’s something seriously wrong with your job search process. 

Whether you’re moving across a country or abroad, relocating needs serious thought and consideration which should ideally happen before you make that application, or at least after the first interview.

Getting to offer stage only to decide that the move is too much is one way to make sure that your future applications to that company are met with suspicion, even if your situation has changed by then. 

Avoid wasting yours and anyone else’s time by putting in the time and research upfront to find out if relocation is something that you would definitely do.

Understandably, there will likely be lots of factors involved in your decision. It might be that you would happily relocate for the right role, the right package or the right career progression prospects, and you may only find out what the company can offer in relation to these things once you open up a dialogue. 

But being clear on what your bottom line is will put you in the best position to have a serious and constructive discussion with the hiring manager or the recruiter about what you really want and what it would take for you seriously consider an offer.

7. You Accepted An Offer Then Went M.I.A 

When you have to think about an offer for a reeeeeeally long time, it usually means it’s not the right job for you. 

If you have to persuade yourself to accept a job offer, then it’s unlikely to work out. 

Sometimes everything looks great on paper, the salary, the benefits, the career progression prospects, but you just don’t feel good inside. For whatever reason, you’re not as excited about this great job as you thought you would be … 

Whether it’s the commute, the company ethos, the cost of travel, the people you met, whatever it is, if it’s not sitting right with you after a day or two it’s unlikely to after a week, or ever. So, don’t try and force yourself to go for any job because you think you should.

As we know, nothing’s perfect, so it all comes down to what imperfections you can live with and what’s important to you. 

But whatever you do, DONT …

Take forever to think things through when you desperately want to say no

Accept the offer  ( albeit while feeling unsure) 

Not sign on the dotted line when your contract comes through because …. Surprise, it still doesn’t feel right

Then… send an email to HR, the recruiter or whoever, telling them you’re pulling out because it’s just not right, then do a disappearing act. Very  SATC break up on a post-it style! 


Avoiding these cardinal sins will make sure you don’t end up wondering why you’re not getting your dream job when you’ve done all you can.


Now you know when not to do, find out the 7 Steps To Finding Your Dream Career And Making That Career change