Job Interview Do's and Don'ts

What To Do (and Not To Do and Say) During an Interview

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Do you know the best behavior codes for a job interview, or aren't you sure? Your success in an interview will be determined not only by whether you say and do the right things, but also if you can avoid making major mistakes that will cost you a chance at getting hired.

Here are some suggestions to help you optimize your chances of interview success.

Job Interview Do’s

Dress the part of someone who is successful in your chosen field.

Make sure your clothing fits well, is neatly pressed, and is appropriate for the work environment. Here are tips for what to wear to a job interview.

Greet your interviewer with a firm - but not bone crunching - handshake, and a warm smile.  Sit up straight and lean slightly forward during the interview. Here’s how to introduce yourself at a job interview.

Make regular - but not piercing or staring - eye contact.  Show some energy and enthusiasm through your vocal tone. 

Analyze the requirements for your target job and be prepared to share at least five compelling reasons as to why you should be hired. 

Prepare anecdotes, stories and examples that show how you have tapped those strengths to be successful in your past jobs, internships, classes and activities.  Describe specific situations or challenges, the actions you took to intervene, and the results which you generated. 

Pay particular attention to how you have positively impacted the bottom line in your past jobs - whether that was saving money, increasing sales, retaining staff, recruiting employees, securing funding or improving quality.

 

Listen carefully to each question before jumping in with your response.  Ask for clarification if you are unsure of what the interviewer is getting at. 

Carefully review your resume and be prepared to discuss challenges and successes in each position listed in your document. 

Rehearse answers to some typical interview questions, including the dreaded inquiry about your weaknesses.

 

Be ready to explain in as positive a manner as possible why you left, or why you were asked to leave, any position on your resume.

Make sure you research the employer thoroughly and know why you would like to work there. 

Let the interviewer know at the close of your meeting that you are highly interested in the job based on what you learned through the process. Make it clear that you would welcome the opportunity to work with them, or continue on in the process.

Secure the name and email of each interviewer prior to leaving the premises. 

As soon as possible after departing, send a follow up email, card or letter which expresses your gratitude, briefly summarizes how the job is a good fit and references your heightened interest in the position. 

What to Avoid During a Job Interview

In addition to being sure that you are doing all the right things, it’s important not to do the wrong things during a job interview. Acting inappropriately during a job interview, or saying something that causes concern for the interviewer will hinder your chances of getting hired. Here are some things not to do when you’re interviewing.

Job Interview Don'ts

  • Criticize any previous employer, co-worker or supervisor. 
  • Make any false statements that could be discovered by your employer in the future. 
  • Share any weaknesses which are central to your target job.
  • Make vague, unsubstantiated assertions about your qualifications. 
  • Show a preference for any single interviewer in a group interview situation. 
  • Act like a know it all. 
  • Check your cell phone during your interview. 
  • Arrive late for your interview. 
  • Enter the employer's facility more than 20 minutes prior to the interview. 
  • Dress in too casual a manner. 
  • Act like you could take or leave the job. 
  • Talk too much. 
  • Joke around excessively. 
  • Order an alcoholic beverage during an interview meal or select an entree that is difficult to eat gracefully.

Related Articles: How to Ace a Job Interview | Interview Questions and Answers | How to Prepare for an Interview | Most Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid