Interview Dos and Don’ts
- Rick Forrest, Senior Technical Recruiter
As a recruiter, I have witnessed the job market and recruiting practices evolve drastically over the years. However, the basic principles of interviewing have not changed. I have compiled the following list of the Top Do’s and Don’ts for interviewing based on some great (and some not-so-great) interviews. Be sure to review the Do’s and Don’ts prior to your interview.
Top Interview Dos:
- Be On Time – In some people’s opinions, it’s just as disruptive for someone to be overly early as it is to be late. If you are more than 10 minutes early for an interview, find a coffee shop nearby and wait for an acceptable time to return. If you are going to be even a minute late, call.
- Look the Part – Make sure you take the time to look polished. Always wear a suit unless notified otherwise. You’ll feel more confident the better you look. It is also important to sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
- Be Enthusiastic and Positive – The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with. Stay positive throughout the interview; do not speak negatively about previous employers or job experiences.
- Listen – Maintaining eye contact shows confidence and interest in what the interviewer is saying. Listen through eye contact and expressions, and wait until the speaker has finished. Be sure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation.
- Sell Yourself – Tell the interviewer what you can offer specifically and emphasize what you will bring to the company. Being prepared will help with selling yourself.
- Be Honest, Be Yourself — Be your best professional self. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers or firing. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will be unhappy.
- Show Interest in the Opportunity — Research the employer and/or position in advance, and have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer.
- Make Sure it’s a Good Fit — Evaluate the interviewer and the organization they represent. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the organization.
Top Interview Don’ts:
- Don’t Talk Too Much – Answer questions directly and come prepared with clear answers about your experience. Ask questions if you need clarification.
- Don’t Forget to Turn Your Cell Phone Off – You don’t want interruptions or distractions during the interview. If your phone does ring, don’t answer it! Politely apologize for the interruption and turn the phone off.
- Don’t be Rude to the Receptionist – The receptionist may be asked to provided feedback on their first impression of you. Treat everyone you speak with or pass by as if they were the one potentially interviewing you. You never know who has the final say in whether or not you get the job.
- Don’t Have a Poor Handshake – It matters! Your handshake is one of the first impressions. A limp handshake can show disinterest and weakness. However, the arm pump handshake can be too aggressive.
- Don’t Ask About Benefits/Salary – On the first interview, don’t talk about time off, salary, or benefits. This interview is about selling yourself to a potential employer. Save these questions for follow up interviews.
- Don’t Be Negative - A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don’t exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
- Don’t Lose Your Professionalism – Don’t treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the organization.
- Don’t Go in Unprepared – Don’t be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them, but being unprepared can cost you the job.