The day of your interview has finally arrived — and you want to knock it out of the park. While you’ve likely researched the company and practiced your answers to commonly asked questions, one more study item should be added to your list: interview dos and don’ts.
Brushing up on these job-seeking tips will help you avoid missteps, as well as help you present yourself in a way that tells interviewers you’re a top contender for the job.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the classic interview dos and don’ts that can serve as a helpful study guide during your interview prep.
1. Do your homework.
If you haven’t done the company research or question prep mentioned above, these should be your first priorities. Doing your homework on the company, the position, and the questions you’ll likely be asked will boost your knowledge and confidence before walking into the interview room.
2. Plan to arrive to the interview early.
Punctuality sends a positive message to your potential employer. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early and check-in for the interview at least 5 minutes early. Getting there early will not only show your reliability but also give you some time to mentally prepare for what’s to come.
3. Dress professionally.
Your appearance will play a big role in the first impression you give to interviewers. For both men and women, a suit is always a good choice, but may not be necessary depending on the company and position. When you’re setting up the interview, ask what the dress code is and then plan accordingly.
4. Avoid excess.
Too much perfume, cologne, makeup, or jewelry could be a distraction. So, keep it simple and focus on looking (and smelling) professional so you can effectively showcase all your talents to interviewers.
5. Bring your resume and references.
While our world is becoming increasingly digital, it’s always good to have paper copies of your resume and references readily available during the interview. This shows preparedness on your part and puts all your qualifications and champions in front of interviewers in a tangible way.
6. Be engaging.
Interviewers are trying to determine if you’re a good fit for the position and the company’s culture. Maintain eye contact to show interviewers you’re listening and interested in what they have to say and believe in the answers you’re giving them. In addition, make sure to smile. Smiling shows you’re friendly and happy to be there.
7. Be friendly, but professional.
You certainly want your personality to shine through in the interview, just make sure that you’re still maintaining a high level of professionalism.
8. Ask questions.
Interviewers will undoubtedly give you the opportunity to ask some of your own questions. Take this opportunity to learn more about the company and position, as well as continue to promote your talents and desire to join the team.
Prepare some questions in advance so you’re ready to go when the opportunity presents itself. In addition, try to avoid asking questions the interviewer has already answered. Some questions you might want to ask include:
What does your timeline for hiring someone look like?
What training comes with the position?
What challenges are there for a new hire?
What is your favorite part of your job?
What is the most important thing you’ll need from me to be successful in this position?
9. Prepare a strong closing statement.
A strong closing statement will help you leave a lasting impression on your interviewers. If this is the job for you, tell them that you think you’re a fantastic fit and want to join the team. You can also take this opportunity to quell any concerns they may have about hiring you. Your statement could sound something like this:
“Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. After learning more about the company and the qualities you’re looking for in a person to fill this role, I’m confident that I am the right person. Do you have any other questions for me, or do you have any concerns?”
10. Send “Thank You” notes to all interviewers.
Sending a personalized thank you to your interviewers is a tried-and-true practice that can help your hiring prospects. Not only do the interviewers feel that you truly appreciated their time and the opportunity, but it’s also your chance to reiterate your interest in the job and stress that you’re the perfect match.
At the conclusion of the interview, ask each of your interviewers for a business card so you can send either a handwritten or email thank you to everyone.
11. Don’t chew gum, smoke, or eat during the interview.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. Each of these things can be a major turn-off to interviewers and cause you to lose out on the opportunity.
Oftentimes you’ll be offered a beverage before the interview begins. If you feel like you may get parched, certainly take them up on the offer and thank them.
12. Don’t interrupt.
Wait until interviewers are done asking their questions or responding to your questions before you start talking. Again, this one may seem obvious, but it’s a good reminder to be respectful and engaged during your interview.
13. Don’t ramble.
While you’ll likely be nervous, avoid rambling during your questions and answer as much as possible. As mentioned above, take the time to research the company and practice your answers to commonly asked questions before the interview. This will boost your confidence and help you stay focused throughout the interview.
14. Don’t exaggerate your level of experience.
While you want to sell yourself, do not lie about your past work experience or exaggerate your skills. If you’re hired based on lies or half-truths, you run the risk of damaging your credibility within the company, being unsuccessful in your new role, or being terminated.
Remember that you landed the interview for a reason. They saw something in you. Be honest about what you bring to the table and show that you’re eager to develop additional skills and learn new things.
15. Don’t speak negatively about a former boss or previous employer.
While you may have had a negative experience with a boss or previous company, avoid making disparaging remarks about them. If you do make negative comments, interviewers will assume you’d do the same about their company in the future.
16. Don’t ask about compensation right off the bat.
Compensation plays an important role in your decision to accept a job, but oftentimes it’s best to allow the employer to bring it up first.
Research the market rate for the job that you’re interviewing for using websites such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and SalaryExpert. This will help you understand the typical salary range and allow you to advocate for your compensation requirements based on your experience and the going rate.
You’ve worked hard to land this job interview. Use these interview dos and don’ts during your preparation so you can walk in prepared and confident and leave a positive impression.