Do’s and Don’ts in an Interview

Interview Do’s:

  1. Dress appropriately for the industry; err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
  2. Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
  3. Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time or earlier.
  4. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
  5. Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation.
  6. Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
  7. Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
  8. Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
  9. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question.
  10. Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
  11. Be honest and be yourself — your best professional self. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers and for firing.
  12. Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  13. Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
  14. When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact.
  15. After the interview, make notes right away so you don’t forget critical details.
  16. Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.

Interview Don’ts:

  1. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
  2. Don’t make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  3. Don’t falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
  4. Don’t treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the organization.
  5. Don’t give the impression that you are only interested in an organization because of its geographic location.
  6. Don’t give the impression you are only interested in salary; don’t ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.
  7. Don’t act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
  8. Don’t make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in; it is not the interviewer’s job to act as a career advisor to you.
  9. Don’t be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared will not help you.
  10. Don’t exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
  11. Don’t go to extremes with your posture; don’t slouch, and don’t sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
  12. Don’t chew gum or smell like smoke.
  13. Don’t allow your cell phone to sound during the interview. (If it does, apologize quickly and ignore it.) Don’t take a cell phone call. Don’t look at a text message.