Interviewing Do's & Don'ts

Do's

  • Arrive 10 minutes early. Being late to an interview is never excusable, unless there is a traffic jam or other unforeseen circumstances. In such an event you MUST call your recruiter and the interviewer immediately. Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.
  • Clarify questions. Answer the interviewer's questions as specifically as possible. Relate your skills and background to the position requirements throughout the interview.
  • Give your qualifications. Focus on accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Prepare to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.
  • Ask questions. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
  • Listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer's words, but also on the tone of voice and body language. Once you understand how the interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to establish a better rapport.
  • Dress appropriately. Make your first impression professional.
  • Be professional. Smile, make eye contact and maintain good posture. These are simple but important things that are easy to forget to do during an interview.

Don'ts

  • Don't answer vague questions. Ask the interviewer to clarify fuzzy questions. Don’t give vague answers.
  • Don't interrupt the interviewer. If you don't listen, the interviewer won't either.
  • Don't be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is.
  • Don't ramble. Overlong answers may make you sound apologetic or indecisive.
  • Don't lie. Answer questions truthfully.
  • Don't express resentment. Avoid derogatory remarks about present or former employers.
  • Don't wear heavy perfume or cologne. The interviewer may not share your taste.

Closing the Interview

Candidates often second-guess themselves after an interview. By asking good questions and closing strongly, you can reduce post-interview doubts. If you feel the interview went well and you want to take the next step, express your interest to the interviewer. Try an approach like the following: "After learning more about your company, the position and responsibilities, I believe I have the qualities you are looking for in a candidate. Are there any issues or concerns that would lead you to believe otherwise?"

This is an effective closing question because it opens the door for the hiring manager to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, you may be able to create an opportunity to overcome them, and have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.

A few things to remember during the closing process:

  • Make sure you have thoroughly answered these questions during the interview: "Why are you interested in our company?" and "What can you offer?"
  • Express appreciation for the interviewer's time and consideration.
  • Don't expect an offer to be made or a specific salary to be discussed during your first interview. Although it does happen, albeit very seldom.

Follow-up

After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key points covered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. A "thank you" letter or email should be written no later than 12 hours after the interview. Be sure to call your recruiter to discuss your interview and your next steps.

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