Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Your interview is the only first impression you will be able to make with your prospective employer.  Here are some useful tips for things to do and not do during and after your interview.

Interview Do’s

  • Arrive 15 minutes early. Late attendance is unacceptable.
  • Pay attention.
  • Clarify questions.  Be sure to answer the questions the interviewer really asks. If you don’t understand the question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Use proper grammar, syntax, and a good vocabulary.
  • Logically organize your thoughts and answers.
  • Make use of non-verbal communication and body language.
  • Exhibit self-confidence.
  • Appear energetic and enthusiastic.
  • Have the interviewer describe the position and responsibilities to you early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and background to the position throughout the interview.
  • Sell your qualifications. Stress the accomplishments that are most relevant to the job.
  • Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact. Don’t slouch. Maintain composure.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
  • Dress appropriately. Make a professional first impression.
  • Ask questions throughout the interview. An interview is not a one-sided conversation. You are interviewing the employer as much as they are interviewing you.
  • Listen. This is one of the most important abilities. By concentrating not only on the employer’s words, but also on the tone of voice and body language, you will pick up on the employer’s style. You will understand how the employer thinks and can pattern your answers accordingly. This way you will be able to better relate to him or her.

Interview Don’ts

  • Don’t answer vague questions. 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. Long answers often make the speaker sound apologetic or indecisive.
  • 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.
  • Don’t bring up compensation. Always let the employer bring up money first.

Closing the Interview

Many people second-guess themselves after an interview. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate the post-interview doubts that tend to plague most interviewees.

If you think that the interview went well and you would like to take the next step, be sure and express your interest to the hiring authority. Try something like this:

“After hearing more about your company and the position, I am certain that I have the qualities that you are looking for in the (title) position. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, are there any concerns that you have that would lead you to believe otherwise?”

You have the right to be assertive. You should ask a closing question such as the above because it opens the door for the employer to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If there are concerns, this is a time to overcome them. You have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.

Some things to remember during the closing process

  • Do not be discouraged if there is not an offer made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to talk with the office first or meet with other applicants before making a decision.
  • Be sure that you can answer the following questions:“Why are you interested in the company?,” and “What can you offer?.”
  • Thank the employer for his/her time and consideration and shake his/her hand with a firm handshake.
  • Ask the employer for a business card so you can write a thank you note as soon as possible.
  • Send a handwritten thank you note to the employer within 24 hours after the interview.

Following Up

When you get back in your car, promptly write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications that the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. Immediately call your recruiter! Follow-up is critical!