Register for full access to the website

Login Register

Don’t make these job application and interview mistakes

Don’t make these job application and interview mistakes < >

  • November 24, 2017 | 1:54 am
  • Mining Employment

In my 15 years in mining industry recruitment, I’ve seen some appalling job applications. I’ve also completed many interviews where I’ve wondered if the person actually wanted a job, let alone the one they applied for. I’ve had referees hang up on me rather than give a reference. And I’ve seen so many people who have been ill-prepared for their pre-employment screenings.

Don’t make those mistakes! Here is MPi’s list of common blunders to avoid if you want to make sure your mining job application and interview go as smoothly as possible.


Incorrect details on your resume, cover letter or application form. Spending several minutes trying to call an applicant for an arranged interview only to have someone completely unknown return the call is not only frustrating and time-wasting, it means the interview has to be rescheduled. And that’s not always possible.

Failing to follow the application instructions. It’s almost guaranteed your application will be thrown in the bin. Most companies now have online application systems and they differ in what they demand. Ensure you read the advertisement carefully as some companies will ask for a cover letter while others will ask you to address the requirements of the role. Others just want your resume. Get it right!

Failing to attach your resume to the email or application. You may only have one chance, so don’t forget.


Spelling and grammar errors. Some people overlook them; others cannot look past them. Unfortunately, you won’t know the personality of the person reviewing your application, so an application and resume free from errors should be your aim each and every time.

Not tailoring your resume to the job advertisement you are applying for. Recruiters are not mind readers and do not know the details of every occupation in every industry. If you have transferable and relevant skills, ensure they are clearly highlighted.

Not updating your work history when applying for a position. Recruiters want to know what you are doing now. Not spending time updating your resume risks sending a message that you may not be interested in the role.

Listing accomplishments that are more than five years’ old. This raises the question, “What have you achieved recently?” Ensure your accomplishments are relevant and recent.

Failing to ensure your qualifications are up-to-date. You may have known first aid in 2008, but if you haven’t renewed this qualification since, don’t include it in your list. (Or, better yet, go and update your qualification and make yourself more employable.)

Adding pictures, using coloured fonts or coloured backgrounds. This doesn’t make your application stand out, it just makes your resume more difficult to read.

Cover Letters

Impersonal cover letters. While these are not always required, if you do include one, ensure your letter is personalised and addressed to the person listed within the advertisement.

Not including why you want to work for the company in your cover letter. A cover letter is designed to provide information not included in your resume.

Not having a reliable phone and internet service. The hiring manager or recruiter needs to contact you. You may only get one chance to speak with someone. Make sure they can reach you.


Having personal friends as referees is neither professional or appropriate. And recruiters will clarify how the referee knows you. It is quickly evident in the course of the conversation that their knowledge is not from a workplace.

Not advising your referees you’ve listed them on your resume or application. We called a referee once and were told quite firmly they had no idea why they were listed and no endorsement would be given. Consider it end of phone call and end of your chances for getting the job.

Not informing your referees when you’ve applied for a position. It’s not only polite, it also ensures you remain connected to your previous manager and can provide them the details of the role and your interest. It’s your chance to coach your referees about your goals.

Not having a supervisor or manager as your referee. This will raise concerns for a recruiter or a hiring manager.


Arriving late for an interview. Don’t do this, unless you have an emergency. Then, if possible, call and let the company know. “Running late” is not an emergency.

Having your phone on during the interview (even worse, then answering the call). Yes, this happened to me on one occasion. To make it even worse, it was another recruiter calling to discuss a position and the person answered several questions before asking if they could be called back.

Not being prepared for the interview. At the very least take a copy of your resume, a notepad and two or three questions. Even better, do some research on the company and have a copy of the advertisement.

Inappropriate language or body language. Recruiters assume people being interviewed are mindful of their language and behaviours, so if someone behaves inappropriately when they are acting consciously, we immediately question how they are naturally.

Not leaving enough time. Having to leave half way through the interview because your parking is about to expire or you have another appointment to get to is not appropriate. It calls into question your time management skills.

Becoming familiar with people too soon. Yes, you may have spoken to them a few times to get to a face-to-face interview, but every interaction you have is part of the interview and selection process.

Forearmed, is forewarned and if you use this advice as the basis for your checklist, then you are off to a great start. Remember, spellcheck is your friend. Just ensure you are using the version appropriate to your country.