Interview do's and don'ts

It’s no surprise that a strong interview is a determining factor in securing a new position. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be resulting in a better outcome. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind so that you shine at your next in-person job interview:

So, what are the top six things you should always do before or during an interview?

  • Do research the company, check out their website and social media pages before the interview. How does the company present itself, its workplace culture, and its employees? It is better to be too formal than casual in case you miss their dress code.
  • Do prepare questions. This shows you’re truly interested and have given the position a lot of thought. Examples of good questions are, “Can you tell me about the career paths you offer?” 
  • Do let the interviewer feel in control. Let them take the lead and follow the general direction that they are guiding the conversation. Chances are they have certain things they need to find out from you in order to know if you are fit for this job. And the more you help them gather this information the better they will feel about you as a candidate even if you are missing one or two pieces of experience.
  • Do treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinion of you might be solicited during the hiring decisions.
  • Do explain how you can be an asset to the company. You should make yourself stand out from the pack by explaining exactly how you can help the company. For example, if the company is expanding overseas and you have international experience, highlight it and emphasize how your knowledge can add value to the company’s operations.
  • Do tell the truth. I know it might be tempting to lie about your previous experiences, but it won’t do you any good in the long run. The hiring manager might check your experience with previous employers. Instead you should admit you handled a professional situation badly and explain what you learned from the experience.

Now you know what you should do, what are the top six things you should not do at an interview?

  • Don’t be lateHiring managers are busy and usually see more than one candidate per day. Being late isn’t just rude, it will also mess up the interviewer’s schedule and that’s definitely not going to make a good first impression. 
  • Don’t be negative about previous employersEven if you had an awful experience at a previous employer, never say anything negative. Hiring managers want to see a positive attitude, so find something positive to say about every position you have held.
  • Don’t show signs of panic and don’t lose your cool if things take an unexpected turn or you face a tough question. Also don’t rush while answering. You don’t want to blurt something out that you can’t take back, so stay calm.
  • Don’t speak badly of your past employer to your next, even if your past employer is a competitor of the company where you want to work, don’t criticize a past employer. You will be seen as petty or as a risky hire.
  • Don’t forget to bring a hard copy of your resumeIt is always smart to have your resume on hand in case you need to refer to it.
  • Don’t rush the ending or leave without thanking them and making eye contact. The last impression matters, and even if you are worried that the interview didn’t go well, now is not the time to stress. Focus on what you can control in the moment, which is to leave a good final impression. 

Finally, always send a thank you email to the hiring manager. This is both polite and keeps you fresh in his or her mind.


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