The Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing
As with other aspects of your job search, there are no set rules that must be followed, but there are best practices that have proven to work over and over for decades. The more of these best practices you follow, the more you increase your chances of getting job offers. Some of these Do’s and Don’ts might seem like common sense but with everything you have going on with your job search you might forget some of the most common Do’s and Don’ts of interviewing.
Interviews don’t have to be tough, but if you don’t put the time and energy into preparing for one, you can turn it into a dreadful hurdle. Do yourself a favor; review all pages in the interviewing section on CareerThinker.com to help you prepare for each interview. If you don’t get the job, you interviewed for then think of it as practice for an even better opportunity. You need to have the right mindset for interviews and approach each as an opportunity to build a relationship and show the prospective employer how you can contribute to the organization.
You are awesome and deserve a fantastic career; belief in yourself and in your abilities.
This is a list of do’s that we advise you to follow when going through an interview. Take the time to check off each one once you understand it and have an action plan to accomplish it. You will know once you go through the list a few times and an actual interview that each item holds a lot of value. This list is in no particular order but design to assist in remembering them.
- Pay attention to your grooming and cleanliness they should be impeccable; dress appropriately for your interview and always err on the side of being conservative, this will show you take the interview seriously.
- Have high levels of confidence and energy; be careful not to overdo it where you come across as being phony
- Try and get business cards from each person that interviews you
- Write a thank you response the day after your interview
- Make sure you have eye contact with your interviewer (but don’t stare them down); if there are more than one interviewer keep eye contact with them all when you are speaking and with the one who speaking to you
- Bring a portfolio with a pen and pad to take notes
- Bring 5 extra copies of your resume, store them in your portfolio so they stay clean and neat (make sure you bring copies of the same resume as you sent to this company)
- Offer a full firm handshake, but don’t overdo it to the point of pain; women a firm handshake will be valued
- Practice an interview with a friend or family member
- Be aware of your manners with everyone you meet
- Come prepared with a list of thoughtful, company-specific questions and stay clear of questions that are common knowledge or easily found on their website
- Speak proudly about your accomplishments and how you achieved them
- Relax and answer each question clearly and concisely
- Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and that nervous leg bouncing
- Pay attention and listen to ensure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation
- Arrive 15 minutes early, you might need to complete pre-interview documents
- Bring your sample application so you have quick access to application information
- Make sure at the end of the interview you ask and understand the next step in the interview process
- End the interview with another full firm handshake and thank them for their time for the meeting
- Ensure you greet others you come in contact with on the way in and way out of the interviewers office
- Address the interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr. Mrs.) and their last name unless invited to do otherwise
- Review our interview question page to be prepare for possible questions or types of questions
- Ask appropriate questions during the interview, an interview should be a two way street and conversation builds a connection with the interviewers
- Sometime in the beginning of the interview ask the interviewer to describe the position and its responsibilities
- Make sure you review your qualifications for the position during the interview
- Bring your Social Security Card, and Government issued identification (Driver’s License)
- Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume make sure they can hear you but not 2 offices down
This is a list of don’ts that we advise you don’t do on an interview. Review this list in detail to ensure you are aware of each item on this list. Doing one or more of these don’ts can destroy the interviewer’s impression of you and your candidacy for the position. Bottom line you need to be sharp, prepared, well-mannered and show them what you can do for them not what they can do for you.
- Don’t make negative or derogatory remarks about your current or past employer, companies or coworkers
- Don’t wear any cologne or perfume you never know how some will react to a scent or be allergic; being freshly showered will be enough
- Don’t over speak or interrupt when the interviewer is talking, it shows lack of interest in what they are speaking about
- Don’t lie, answer questions as truthful as possible
- Don’t chew gum, drink coffee or smoke during the interview; use breath mints or gum before arriving at the interview
- Don’t slouch; be aware of your posture
- Don’t discuss or bring up any personal issues
- A job search can be difficult and frustrating, but never show these feelings to your interviewer, show an optimistic attitude
- Don’t use filler words like “um”, “yeah”, “like” and “so.”
- Any interviews during a meal never have alcoholic beverages, outside of an interview over a meal, never accept any beverage or food before or during the interview
- Don’t act desperate as if you would take any job
- Don’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no”; on the other hand, don’t go on tangents when answering questions
- Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits, avoid this topic if possible; review our page should we talk salary
- Don’t answer any phone calls, emails or text during or while waiting for the interview.
- Leave your phone in your car or make sure it’s shut down and out of sight
- Don’t react to questions with statements like “boy that is a great question” or “I’ve never been asked that question before.”
- Don’t make excuses, take responsibility for anything on your resume or choices you’ve made