Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts

Improper interviewing etiquette can easily overshadow a strong resume.

Keep these tips in mind during your interview:

Common mistakes of interviewees

  • Unprepared for interview – lack of knowledge of the organ. and/or available positions. Did not research the organization!
  • Overbearing – over aggressive – conceited – superiority complex – know-it-all
  • Inability to express self clearly and explain strengths – poor communication skills
  • Lack of career planning – no purpose, goals or direction, not focused on what he/she wants to do
  • Asks no questions about the job/company
  • Lacks involvement in campus activities
  • Does not belong to professional association associated with his/her major
  • Poor communication skills – uses slang – improper grammar
  • Lack of enthusiasm, doesn’t smile, appears uninterested
  • Poor appearance – inappropriately dressed for interview
  • Lack of confidence – nervousness (to a fault) – ill at ease
  • Overemphasis on money
  • Poor academic record
  • Expect too much too soon; unwilling to start at the bottom
  • Makes excuses – evasiveness
  • Lack of tact, courtesy & maturity
  • Condemnation of past employers
  • Poor eye contact
  • Limp handshake
  • Candidates who are merely “shopping around”
  • Candidates who want job only for short time
  • Lack of or little sense of humor
  • No interest in organization or in industry
  • Too much emphasis on whom one knows – trying to impress
  • Unwillingness to relocate
  • Strong prejudices
  • Narrow scope of interests
  • Little or no interest in community activities
  • Inability to take criticism
  • Late for interview without good reason
  • Indecisive

Do try to:

  • Know yourself (skills, abilities, goals, interests, values, strengths/weaknesses, etc.)
  • Know your potential employer (position you’re interviewing for, primary products, services, etc.)
  • Read employer literature.
  • Look professional.
  • Be on time (arrive at the site 15 minutes early to check your appearance, compose yourself, etc.)
  • Be clear, concise, and to the point.
  • Send a thank-you follow-up. Get correct names and titles.
  • Bring appropriate materials (resume, transcript, etc.) in a portfolio.
  • Share your success stories.
  • Find out when a decision is expected to be made.
  • Give a firm handshake.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Prepare several insightful questions.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Market yourself.
  • Think before you answer.
  • Give concrete examples to support your points.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive.

Don’t do these things:

  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t ask about other applicants.
  • Don’t request salary information.
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t chew gum/eat life savers, etc.
  • Don’t slouch
  • Don’t criticize previous employers, professors, etc.
  • Don’t dress inappropriately. (You must dress to fit in.)
  • Don’t dominate the conversation.
  • Don’t invade the interviewer’s physical space.
  • Don’t make excuses. (Give reasons instead.)
  • Don’t tell the interviewer what he/she doesn’t need to know such as personal information.
  • Don’t patronize the interviewer.
  • Don’t ramble (make your point and stop talking.)
  • Don’t try to be what you’re not.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Don’t apologize.
  • Don’t ask obvious or inappropriate questions (about vacation, sick leave, etc.)
  • Don’t be aggressive. (Be assertive.)
  • Don’t rely on other people’s words or thoughts. (Use your own.)