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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Dos and Don’t of a Job Interview

Follow this list, and remember, when in doubt, resort to common sense.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

You applied for a position with a great company, and you believe you are the perfect candidate for the job. After a couple of weeks, the recruiter calls and schedules an interview. Now what?

Depending on the position you’re seeking and how you regard your potential employer, tensions might run high.

Prior to the interview, you might ask yourself if you’re truly qualified and feel somewhat nervous when it’s time to sit down with the recruiter. In other words, you might not be as prepared to face this new challenge as you previously thought, and in the end, the recruiter might not be as impressed with your performance as a result.

In order to ace your interview and land the job you’ve always dreamed of, there are a few dos and don’ts of a job interview you should consider before heading out the door.

1: DO Respect the Employer, and Show Gratitude for the Opportunity

Nowadays, employers know that finding good employees who are also respectful is nearly an impossible task.

In the age of entitlement, young workers fall short of meeting their employers’ expectations simply because they don’t feel passionate about the job. Showing the employer you respect the business and, most importantly, the opportunity you were given, will go a long way.

2: DO Show You Did Your Homework and Are Ready to Hit the Ground Running

Before showing up to the interview, look into the company, its history, how it’s positioned in the market, how consumers perceive it, and how their competitors measure up.

Looking at the firm’s social media pages will help, but looking for its employees on LinkedIn will give you a better idea of what to expect and what it’s like to work there. Ask yourself what accomplishments you have made that could help the employer see why he should pick you.

But knowing the company’s background isn’t the only research you should do before meeting with the recruiter.

Read the job description once, twice, three times—carefully. Bring a printed copy of the requirements to the interview if needed. Make sure you were thorough while examining the employer’s specifications and that you understand what qualifications are necessary for the position. If necessary, prepare ahead of time by writing down why you think you are the perfect candidate, and examine how you match the employer’s requirements. Then, take a hard look at your career so far and ask yourself what accomplishments you have made that could help the employer see why he should pick you. But remember to bring them up only if and when it’s appropriate to do so.

Accomplishments that are simply impressive but not relevant to the job will not do you any favors if they are used out of context.

3: DO Let the Interviewer Take Control of the Exchange

You might be eager to ask more questions about the job position, but more likely than not, the recruiter already has a list of things he will cover before the interview is over. So instead of appearing insecure or anxious by hitting the interviewer with a series of questions right at the beginning of the meeting, take a deep breath.

By allowing him to take the lead, you will learn more than you expect by simply listening. In the end, this attitude could gain you some points, even if you don’t meet all the requirements or don’t have the exact experience the employer is looking for.

4: DO Study the Questions the Interviewer Might Ask

Showing you’re calm and know how to listen throughout the interview could make a huge difference, but knowing how to answer questions without losing your cool will also make you stand out.

According to recruiters themselves, candidates who only respond using generalities, especially when discussing their experience, don’t make the cut. Additionally, applicants may seem like a bad hire if they cannot give the recruiter an example of how they deal with disagreement at work. After all, being able to discuss a problem you’ve dealt with in the workplace should come naturally, but not being able to give the recruiter an example of how you handle conflict may be interpreted as a sign that you are hiding something.

Now that you know what to do before and during an interview, let’s look at what you should definitely never do to land your dream job.

5: DON’T Under or Overdress

Dress for the job you want, the old adage says, not the job you have. When it comes to job interviews, this is certainly true.

By researching the company and the job position for which you’re applying, you should have a fairly good idea of what kind of look the interviewer is expecting from you. Furthermore, dressing well and respectfully gives the recruiter a great first impression that says you care about the available position.

By the same token, be careful about overdoing it.

Avoid using too much makeup or wearing very expensive, overly revealing, or even showy outfits. You risk making your interviewer uncomfortable.

6: DON’T Be Unprepared

Looking into the questions the recruiter might ask beforehand helps you to stay calm throughout the meeting. And being calm and feeling secure are sure ways to let the recruiter know you’re right for the job.

Also, be honest about your work experience. Remember that a potential employer won’t enjoy hearing you complain about a former boss.

If there’s something in your resume the recruiter might want to ask you about, know how to handle the question and what to say without sounding nervous. And when the recruiter asks why you left your last job, avoid bringing out the negative. Instead, focus on what will sound relevant to the new job.

For instance, instead of saying your former job didn’t offer you room to grow, say you are looking for a position that can make use of your improving skills. Also, remember that a potential employer won’t enjoy hearing you complain about a former boss.

Regardless of how you feel about your previous gig, do not trash former co-workers or employers to the recruiter unless you don’t care about getting the job.

7: DON’T Lie, It Will Cost You

We live in the future, where everybody’s life is easily accessible online.

With a quick Google search, anyone can find anything about anybody. That means that if you lie about your experience either on your resume or in person, the recruiter could easily find out. And believe it or not, recruiters will dig into your past if they feel the need to or simply to shield the company from making a bad hire.

In order to make sure your potential employer is sure you’re 100 percent honest about your experience, go over the information on your resume to ensure it is correct, and contact your references ahead of time to let them know a recruiter may reach out to them.

Any bad detail given to a recruiter can prove fatal, so stay true to what you know.

8: DON’T Use Your Phone

Texting, receiving a call, or checking your email or social media on your phone during a job interview is a very bad idea.

If you’re fidgety and anxious and looking at your phone usually calms you down, find another way to deal with your nerves.

By using your phone or constantly checking it during the interview, the recruiter will assume you’re not serious about the meeting and might dismiss you based on that.

If finding employment that is both meaningful and pays well is what you want, then acing your job interview should be your priority. Follow this list, and remember, when in doubt, resort to common sense.


  • Chloe Anagnos is a professional writer, digital strategist, and marketer. Although a millennial, she's never accepted a participation trophy.