Interview dos and don’ts

Do …

  • Decrease your stress. Remind yourself that the interview will be more of a conversation rather than an interrogation.
  • Prepare some anecdotes. Be ready to talk about your interests, skills, and experiences – your career story – and provide examples from your life that demonstrate your professional and behavioral capabilities.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early. No more, no less. Late attendance is never excusable. Arriving too early may be seen as an intrusion for those who aren’t ready to receive you.
  • Check your appearance (teeth, hair, clothes) prior to the interview.
  • Shake hands with everyone you meet during the interview.
  • Choose to sit in a chair rather than on a couch for better interview posture.
  • Rise from your chair to shake hands with and greet new people who enter the room to join the interview.
  • Truthfully, professionally, and directly answer questions. Be sure you answer the questions the interviewer really asks rather than ones you feel more confident answering. Never use negative language when discussing a previous work experience.
  • Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and your background to the position throughout the interview.
  • Discuss your qualifications. Stress accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
  • Positively conduct yourself. Smile, make eye contact, nod occasionally to indicate understanding/agreement, don’t slouch, and maintain your composure.
  • Dress appropriately. Even if casual dress is common to the workplace, dress up for the interview.
  • Ask questions throughout the interview. Rather than a one-sided conversation, an interview should be a mutual exchange of information. The interviewer will appreciate not having to initiate all the dialogue.
  • Listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer’s words, but also on his/her tone of  voice and body language. Once you understand how an interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly to better relate.

Don’t …

  • Interrupt the interviewer. If you don’t have time to listen, neither will he/she.
  • Answer vague questions. Rather than answer puzzling questions, kindly ask the interviewer for clarification and then respond.
  • Smoke, chew gum, or place anything on the interviewer’s desk.
  • Be overly familiar (address by first names, joke excessively, give pats on the back, etc.) even if the interviewer demonstrates familiarity.
  • Wear heavy perfume or cologne.
  • Ramble. Long answers can sound apologetic, indecisive, or unfocused in your thinking. Conversely, avoid answering questions with a laconic “yes” or “no.” Support your answers with brief, specific anecdotes from your employment history.
  • Consume alcoholic beverages or order expensive entrees if the interview comprises lunch or dinner.