Mistakes Kenyan graduates make during job interviews


A job interview can be nerve racking and quite demanding. But that is not an excuse for candidates to jinx the interview by their own simple mistakes. Interestingly, according to HR managers, it’s the simple, basic stuff that rule you out of a job, not your papers and qualifications.


So we asked two HR managers what the 10 most common mistakes graduates make during interviews, and surprisingly they agreed on most points! So carefully take note.



Mary Murigah, HR Manager, Capital Group


1. A phone call in between with some crazy ring tone


2. Memorised answers to general interview questions


3. Inability to talk about one self


4. Looking completely detached from the interview


5. Lack of doing proper research on the company and industry you wish to work for and its operations


6. Inability to ask questions


7. Lack of goals i.e when asked for goals for the next 5 years, he/she ends up with aaaammhhh still trying to figure out or I’m not sure or says something that completely doesn’t make sense


8. Lack of knowledge on anything about the job you have applied for.


9. Mixing languages e.g how did you deal with peer pressure at campus? Saa unajua campo is proper hustling…………bla  bla bla


10. Being too talkative whilst being repetitive…


11. Carrying a completely disorganised folder to an interview, one with brown torn envelopes and completely disorganised paper work…..


12. Untidy look






Florence Nyokabi, Director – Human Resources and Administration, KPMG


1. Inappropriate dress (displays sloppiness and a potential challenge in cultural fit within the organization)


2. Lateness for the interview (displays a lack of seriousness/commitment)


3. Overly casual:  use of inappropriate language – slang, sheng etc (displays a lack of seriousness)


4. Long-winded explanations: lack of concise/precision in their responses OR closed-ended responses without adequate explanation (displays lack of clarity in thought)


5. Incongruence between what the applicant writes on their CV and what they say during the interview discussion (displays a lack of integrity)


6. Lacking in passion/energy/drive – not able to demonstrate the fire-in-the-belly or zeal to work in the role


7. Making demands in the first interview:  eg:  I expect a salary of x, to work strictly 8 hours a day, … etc (demonstrates strong self-interest)


8. Lack of understanding the organization’s business and the candidate’s fit in the organization (demonstrates lack of preparation)


9. Over-rehearsing:  cliché statements (displays a lack of credibility)





  • Hey,
    Graduates right from school are more likely to make a lot of those mistakes, since most will go there with “I must get this job kind of thinking”. My only advise, do not go into an interview room as if your life depends on it. Having been called for n interview in the first place is a confirmation you are a potential employee for the company!!

  • The job interview should be taken as a decider for a job because it is an assessment of who you really are(character),so you cannot hide your self-image i.e the mental attitude or behaviour rather than your physical image i.e how you look even though you may attach your social networking photograph onto your C.V. Avoid distracting the interviewers by having a ringtone in between the interview.Talking about oneself means being confident and being able to express one’s strengthens and weaknesses.This does not arise from expressing what one flaunts in the C.V because it definitely shows that you are an average person and you do not want to endeavour something new or excellent,particularly with your colleagues or team members.The interviewers will be proud of your achievements but may not hire you.So be yourself!!!Asking questions will clearly demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for a job.You also need to have knowledge about the company and the types of management involved in the business e.g strategic,operational and tactical.Looking completely detached from the interview is totally wrong so sit upright and look alert and interested.The HR manager also did not mention the facial expressions-smiling is a way of ease and friendship with the interviewers.