Do's and Don'ts of InterviewingBy Susan Morem
DON’T: Take rejection personally: Expect to be rejected; few job seekers receive offers for every job they seek. When you don’t get the job you were hoping for, it doesn’t mean you’re no good; it means someone else was a better fit for the position.
DON’T: Bring your phone to an interview: Leave your phone in the car, but if you must bring it with you, turn it off. Nothing is more disturbing than a phone ringing in the middle of an interview and few things will disqualify you faster than answering a call.
DON’T: Overlook your shoes: Interviewers pay attention to the condition of your shoes and so should you. Make sure your shoes are an appropriate style for an interview and that they are clean, polished, and in top condition.
DON’T: Ask for a bathroom, telephone or cigarette break: Take care of business before and after the interview. You want to keep the momentum going, not disrupt it.
DON’T: Use a cheap pen: The wrong pen sends the wrong message. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but be willing to spend more than 19 cents. The pen you use WILL be noticed; use a professional looking pen.
DON’T: Stink: No smell is the only smell of success. Clean and air out your clothes. Take a shower. Brush and floss your teeth. Leave off the cologne. Come clean to an interview; no scent is the best scent.
DON’T: Chew gum: Never chew gum, suck on candy or eat during an interview. And, spit your gum out before the interview begins.
DON’T: Fidget: Refrain from playing with your hair, your pen, your jewelry; tapping your fingers or squirming in your chair. It’s a dead giveaway that you nerves are acting up.
DON’T: Exaggerate or lie: Even a little white lie can get you into a big mess. As long as you tell the truth you will never have to worry about keeping your story straight.
DON’T: Ask about the perks. Don’t ask about salary, vacation, sick days, or about anything that might indicate you are more interested in the perks of the job than the job itself—especially in a first interview.
DON’T: Swear: Watch your language – swearing shows a lack of class and control. Speak clearly, slowly and with enthusiasm.
DON’T: Forget to write a thank you note: If you want to be remembered, remind the interviewer who you are; send a thank you note.
DO: Your homework: Gather as much information as you can about the industry, the company, and its competition. The more you know going into the interview the easier it will be to carry on a conversation and ask intelligent questions.
DO: A dress rehearsal: Wear your interview outfit before you ever have an interview. Make sure you are comfortable sitting, standing and walking and that everything is clean, in good condition and fitting properly.
DO: Prepare and practice responses: Know your strengths, your weaknesses and why you are the best person for the job. Don’t wait for an interview to say it for the first time – practice, practice, practice.
DO: A mock interview: The best way to prepare for an interview is a mock interview, especially a videotaped interview. It’s the only way to see yourself as others see you.
DO: Know what is on your resume: It is not uncommon for an interviewer to ask you about your resume. Be prepared to talk about your job history and past experience.
DO: Dress to impress: Choose your clothing carefully; what you wear is one of the most important decisions you will make. Even if the company has a casual dress code, you aren’t working there yet. Dress up, not down. Look your best and dress to impress.
DO: Arrive early: Plan on arriving at least 15 minutes early. This will give you time to find a place to park, visit the rest room and relax before you begin your interview.
DO: Have copies of your resume and references. Carry extra copies should they be requested—you never know how many people you will be meeting with.
DO: Smile: A sincere smile will lighten up the tension in your face and help you to appear friendly and relaxed. A sincere smile is one of your most valuable assets.
DO: Ask questions. Prepare and ask specific questions about the position and the company, but avoid asking questions you could easily find answers to on a company website or brochure.
DO: Use formality. Address the interviewer by his or her surname or formal title until you are invited to use his or her first name.
DO: Ask for the job: There is no need to avoid the real reason you are having an interview. If you want the job, don’t end the interview without asking for the job.