Dos and Don’ts in a Job Interview
- Do research on the company so you will be prepared to answer any questions about its history or business
- Do practice interviewing before the actual interview. Enlist a friend for help
- Do dress appropriately
- Do bring extra copies of your resume
- Do arrive early. Preferably 10 to 15 minutes prior to the interview start time
- Do greet the interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name
- Do shake hands firmly
- Do make eye contact with your interviewer
- Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting
- Do be aware of body language. Maintain good posture and look enthusiastic
- Do give qualitative answers to questions
- Do ask for clarification if you don't understand a question
- Do emphasize your strengths
- Do ask questions. This will display your interest in the position
- Do be honest
- Do listen carefully
- Do let the interviewer know that you look forward to hearing from the company soon
- Do close the interview positively with a handshake and thank the interviewer for his or her time
- Do get business cards from each person you interviewed with
- Do write a thank-you letter to your interviewer(s) promptly
- Don't be late
- Don't chew gum or smoke during the interview
- Don't wear heavy perfume or cologne
- Don't dress casual
- Don't have a limp or clammy handshake
- Don't tell jokes during the interview
- Don't be soft-spoken. Confidence is key
- Don't answer questions with a "yes" or "no." Give examples
- Don't rely only on your resume or cover letter to do the selling for you
- Don't bring up or discuss personal issues or family problems
- Don't answer your cell phone. Turn it off or keep it on silent mode
- Don't make negative comments about former colleagues, supervisors, or employers
- Don’t raise ask about salary, benefits or vacations until an offer has been made
- Don't interrupt the interviewer
- Don't falsify your answers to interview questions
- Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made at the end of the interview
Types of Interviews
Traditional Face-to-Face Interview :
- Most interviews are face-to-face. The most traditional is a one-on-one conversation.
- Your focus should be on the person asking questions. Maintain eye contact, listen and respond once a question has been asked.
- Your goal is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show them that your qualifications will benefit their organization.
Panel/Committee Interview :
- More than one interviewer. Typically, three to ten members of a panel may conduct this part of the selection process. This is your chance to put your group management and group presentation skills on display.
- As quickly as possible, try to 'read' the various personality types of each interviewer and adjust to them. Find a way to connect with each interviewer.
- Remember to take your time in responding to questions.
- Maintain primary eye contact with the panel member who asked the question, but also seek eye contact with other members of the panel as you give your response.
Behavioral Interview :
- The basic premise behind this type of interview is that your past behavior is the best predictor of your future actions. These types of questions may be asked in any interview format—telephone, panel or one-on-one.
- If the employer asks behavior-oriented questions, they are no longer asking hypothetical questions but are now asking questions that must be answered based on facts.
- With a behavioral question, the interviewer is looking for results, not just an activity list. They are listening for names, dates, places, the outcome and especially what your role was in achieving that outcome.
- This type of question generally starts with the words “Give me an example when...” or “Tell me about a time when…”
Case Interview :
- The interviewer will outline a situation or provide you with a case study and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem, that is to demonstrate your problem-solving skills.
- You do not have to come up with the ultimate solution. The interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life situation. Speak and reason aloud so interviewers have a full understanding of your thought process.
- Before answering a case interview question, be prepared to ask the employer numerous questions for clarity and informational purposes. Most employers will provide responses that could result in additional inquiries.
- The more you are able to analyze and dissect the case study, the more you will likely impress your interviewer.
- This is the only interview for which it is acceptable, even encouraged, to bring a pad of paper and pencil. Most interviewers will allow you to take notes and jot down thoughts as you work through the case.
Telephone Interview :
- Many organizations will conduct interviews by telephone to narrow a field of candidates. Telephone interviews may also be used as a preliminary interview for candidates who live far away from the job site.
- It is important to treat this interview as you would a face-to-face connection. Arrange for a quiet space and time to schedule the conversation. Clear a work surface to minimize distractions.
- Focus on the conversation. Listen to the questions carefully before you answer. Since your voice is key, convey energy with inflection in your voice.
- Have a copy of your resume nearby as a reference.
- Avoid using a phone with call waiting. You do not want to be interrupted during an interview.
- Try to use a landline phone or a cell phone that is not prone to dropping calls.
- A group interview is usually designed to uncover the leadership potential of prospective managers and employees who will be dealing with customers.
- The front-runner candidates are gathered together in an informal, discussion type interview. A subject is introduced and the interviewer will start off the discussion.
- The goal of the group interview is to see how you interact with others and how you use your knowledge and reasoning to influence others.
Lunch/Dinner Interview :
- The same rules apply at a meal as those in an office. The setting may be more casual, but remember that it is a business meal and you are being watched carefully.
- Use the interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his/her lead in both selection of food and etiquette.
- Avoid messy foods.
Stress Interview :
- This form of interview was more common in sales positions and is rare today. The stress interview is usually a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself under pressure.
- The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Do no take it personally.
- Calmly answer each question. Ask for clarification if you need it and never rush into an answer.
- The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. This may be an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute goes by, ask if he/she needs clarification of your last comment.
Dress Codes of an Interviews
Women's Interview Attire :
- Solid color, conservative suit
- Coordinated blouse
- Moderate shoes
- Limited jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Tan or light hosiery
- Sparse make-up & perfume
- Manicured nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
Men's Interview Attire :
- Solid color, conservative suit
- White long sleeve shirt
- Conservative tie
- Dark socks, professional shoes
- No jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Go easy on the aftershave
- Neatly trimmed nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
Follow up on an Interviews
- After your interview, be sure to write a thank you note to the employer or interviewer. This is very important because a thank you note gives you one more chance to remind the employer about the special skills that you can bring to the company.
- Make a follow-up phone call to the interviewer on the fifth day after the interview. Let her know of your continued interest in the job and ask if there is any further information she needs from you.
Tips for Thank You Letters
- Neatly hand-write or type the note
- Address the note to the interviewer or the lead interviewer
- Keep it short. (No longer than one page)
- First paragraph: Thank the employer for the interview. Also, mention that you are interested in the position
- Second paragraph: Briefly state a few of your skills without repeating the information on your resume word for word. Include any important information not mentioned at the interview
- Third paragraph: Provide your contact information, telephone number with area code, and an e-mail address, if available
- Sign the note with your first and last name
- Proofread the note to check for spelling or grammar errors. Ask another person to proofread the note
- Mail the note within two to three days after your interview