Job Interview Dos and Don’ts
August 13, 2019
Job Interview Dos and Don’ts
After working hard on many applications, an email for a job interview flies into your inbox. Congratulations - it’s a step in the right direction! But, you might also be nervous, and naturally so. Interviewing for a job, whether it’s a summer internship or a full-time position, can be daunting. This article includes some practical tips to set you up for a successful job interview, as well as pointers on what you should avoid. Like anything else, interviewing well is a skill, and it can be improved with practice and preparation. Follow these job interview dos and don’ts, and you will be on your way to landing that coveted professional position!
1. Make them like you!
It is human nature to like people who like us, so be positive, enthusiastic, and friendly. Nobody wants to work with someone they won’t get along with. And don’t forget to smile!
2. LISTEN - don’t just talk
When it comes to job interview dos and don’ts, it’s important to remember that the interview should be a conversation, not a lecture. Practice active, reflective listening where you summarize, rephrase and play back what interviewers have said. Do not interrupt, but ensure there is give and take throughout your conversations.
3. Ask questions
Questions are a key part of job interview dos and don’ts. Ask clarifying questions throughout the interview to ensure you understand what the interviewer is asking you. If you didn’t hear them the first time, don’t try to guess and answer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. In addition, you should always have a list of questions for the interviewer at the end. Choose questions that begin with “what,” “how,” and “why.” Avoid yes or no questions. Some key follow-up questions include:
- “Why did you choose to work here?”
- “What is the most important thing for someone to be successful in this role?”
- “Who is your biggest competitor and how does your company compare to them?”
- “What initiative is the company’s highest priority this year, and why?”
4. Pause, as needed
Show that you are thoughtful by taking a moment to consider the question and frame your response. Pace yourself while answering questions. If you speak too fast, interviewers may not be able to understand you.
5. Take notes
Write down the high points of your conversation. This demonstrates an active interest and will help you craft follow-up correspondence. Capture contact information from everyone with whom you speak.
6. Know your resumé
Interviewers expect you to talk elaborately on your experiences and what makes you qualified for the job. Even if they have access to all the information on your LinkedIn profile, you need to be able to expand on your experiences during the interview. Don’t go unprepared and forget everything you’ve done, or they might think you made it up!
7. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Use mock interviews with your InGenius Career Counselor or other professionals to practice answering questions in an interview format. An interview can feel like a tense and intimidating environment if you go in with zero preparation. Practice answers to common questions such as “tell us about yourself” or “where do you see yourself in five years” so that you’re not left stuttering during the real interview.
8. Dry run
Do a dry run to the interview location to ensure you know how to get there, how long it will take, and where to park. Then on the day of the interview, allow yourself extra time in case of traffic or bad weather.
Remember that when it comes to job interview dos and don’ts, thank you notes matter. Be sure to send a timely email or written note expressing your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and restating your interest in the position. Throw in one or two things you enjoyed from the conversation to show the interviewers that you truly are appreciative!
1. Don’t drone on incessantly
Keep your stories brief (60-90 seconds) and make sure they have a relevant point. Answer what the question is asking - going off on a tangent will not help you!
2. Don’t be overly familiar or casual with the interviewer
Remember, you don’t have the job yet. Be sociable, but don’t over-do the small talk. The interviewer is not your new best friend. Avoid controversial, divisive topics such as politics and religion. Look and act professionally at all times, even if the work environment is more casual.
4. Don’t get emotional
Be cool, calm, collected, and confident. Some interviews are designed to get you rattled. Don’t take the bait.
5. Don’t show up uninformed
Make sure you do appropriate research on the company before heading to your interview. Hiring managers are usually experienced and can tell if you’re winging the whole thing.
6. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”
For job interview dos and don’ts, it’s better to give a thoughtful “I don’t know” then to give a disastrous, wrong answer. For example, if the interviewer asks you to tell a joke and you cannot think of an appropriate, inoffensive joke, it’s okay to say, “I honestly cannot think of a joke at the moment.” This is much better than telling an off-color joke that would immediately disqualify you from the selection process. Additionally, if you don’t know the answer to a specific question, offer to research the topic and provide the answer later. This could be part of your follow-up correspondence.
7. Don’t look at your phone!
Even better, don’t bring your phone to the interview at all - it might be distracting even if it’s on “do not disturb.” If you must bring it for directions or calling a ride, switch it off before you enter the building and keep it in your backpack. You want to convey to the interviewer that you are 100% present and interested in what they have to say. Nothing says “I don’t want this job” as much as a candidate who looks at her phone during an interview.
While it’s an intimidating part of the job search process, receiving an interview is a big step. Take advantage of this opportunity to show the company of your choice who you are and what you can bring to the prospective role. In order to be ready, practice these job interview dos and don’ts, and you will nail the interview!