Interview Do’s & Don’ts

We advised how to effectively prepare for and close an interview in our blog post Interview PreparationThe guidelines below can be used as a refresher to help ensure interview success.

Interview Do’s
  • Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Clarify ambiguous questions.
  • Answer the specific question that is asked by restating the question in your response.
  • Seek to have the interviewer describe the position and its responsibilities early in the interview. Then, relate your skills, strengths and background to the position as much as possible throughout the interview.
  • Fully explain your qualifications. Stress accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
  • Be aware of body language.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Advance preparation can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
  • Dress appropriately in attire that aligns with the company’s corporate culture.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.  An interview is a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided monologue.
  • Listen carefully.  This can be the difference between landing the job and not. Concentrate on the interviewer’s words, tone of voice and body language to understand his or her style and pattern your answers accordingly.
  • Utilize “we/us” not “I/me” to emphasize you are a team player.
Interview Don’ts
  • Don’t be late.  If you think you will be late, call the interviewer immediately and advise with an anticipated arrival time. Apologize upon arrival.
  • Don’t try to answer a vague or confusing question. Ask the interviewer to clarify or be more specific and then respond.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer. If you don’t have time to listen, why should he or she listen to you?
  • Don’t chew gum.
  • Don’t place anything on the interviewer’s desk unless invited to do so.
  • Don’t be overly casual even if the employer acts this way.
  • Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne or smoke just before entering the interview.
  • Don’t ramble. Long answers often sound apologetic or indecisive.
  • Don’t deliver one-word answers to questions. Explain your answer whenever possible.
  • Don’t or try to hide the truth. Answer questions as truthfully as possible.
  • Don’t make any derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.

Review these guidelines before each interview to ensure you are presenting your most professional self.