While it’s important to set yourself apart from the competition, you also need to follow basic interview guidelines. We’ve compiled a list of what you should and shouldn’t do during your job interview:
- Arrive 10 minutes early. Being late to an interview is never excusable.
- 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 a professional one.
- 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’t answer vague questions. Ask the interviewer to clarify fuzzy questions.
- 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 tastes.
Closing the Interview
Job candidates often second-guess themselves after interviews. By asking good questions and closing strongly, you can reduce post-interview doubts. If you feel that 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 that I have the qualities you are looking for. 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 that 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.
After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered 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 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to call your recruiter to discuss your interview and your next steps.