Interviewing Do's and Don'ts

Do:

  • Arrive 15 minutes early. Late attendance is never excusable.
  • Clarify questions. Be sure you answered the questions the employer really asked.
  • Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and background to the position throughout the interview.
  • Give your qualifications. Stress the accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
  • Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying.
  • Smile, make eye contact, don’t slouch and maintain composure.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.  Be ready for “Behavioral” questions:  “Tell me about a time when…”
  • Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.
  • Ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
  • Listen. This is probably the most important ability of all. By concentrating not only on the employer’s words, but also on the tone of voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer’s style. Once you understand how a hiring authority thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to better relate to him or her.
  • Ask at the end of your interview:  “Reflecting on this interview, is there anything from our discussion of my background that causes you concern about my fit for this opportunity?”
  • Ask for the job—make your interest in proceeding clear.

Don’t:

  • Don’t answer vague questions. Rather than answering questions you think you hear, get the employer to be more specific and then respond.
  • Never interrupt the employer. If you don’t have time to listen, neither does the employer.
  • Don’t smoke, chew gum or place anything on the employer’s desk.
  • Don’t be overly familiar, even if the employer is doing all of these things.
  • Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne.
  • Don’t ramble—be specific and concise. Long answers often make the speaker sound apologetic or indecisive, and “turn off” the interviewer.
  • On the other hand, don’t answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible.
  • Do not lie. Answer questions as truthfully as possible.
  • Do not make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
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