Interview Nerves? Here Are 11 Do’s and Don’ts For A Perfect Job Interview

Going for an interview is always exciting. You have your perfect office clothes on, your hair is tidy, your shoes are polished, you know everything about the company and have planned your route so you will be on time (right?)! Preparing for an interview saves you a lot of time and also will make you less nervous. If you know what is expected of you, what to do and what not to do, you are already on the right track.

Besides the obvious things like leaving your phone on and answering questions with only yes or no there are a few crucial do’s and don’ts that sometimes slip our minds! Here’s a little checklist to make this first stage to a new job a successful one.

Do’s

  • Be honest and professional.
  • Be prepared for typical interview questions (e.g. ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’)
  • Dress appropriately for the industry, job, and company.
  • Prepare your route to the company so you will be on time and have some extra time to fresh up in the restroom before your interview.
  • Greet and be friendly to the receptionist/PA and everyone you meet within the company (Receptionists/PA’s will almost always be asked how you came across and treated/approached them when you arrived!)
  • Give a firm handshake, smile and make eye contact (keep this up during the interview and at departure)
  • Do your research on the company/owners/the persons that will interview you.
  • Have a positive and ‘can do’ attitude during the interview.
  • Respond to the questions asked and back them up with examples where appropriate.
  • If you didn’t understand the question, ask for clarification.
  • Write a thank-you note within 24 hours after the interview.

Don’ts

  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t arrive smelling of cigarette smoke or too much perfume. Moderation is key!
  • Don’t chew gum during your interview
  • Take responsibility and don’t make excuses
  • Never make negative comments about previous colleagues or employers
  • Don’t ask about salary, travel expenses, benefits, holiday times etc.  (discuss that once you get a job offer)
  • Don’t say that you don’t have any questions (see: 9 Relevant questions to ask during your job interview)
  • Don’t act so desperate for employment, it comes across like you would take any job
  • Don’t bring up personal or family problems or negative information about yourself
  • Don’t give the impression that you are only interested in the company because it is close to where you live
  • NEVER take a friend, your parents or someone else to an interview (Yes it happens!)

Any do’s or don’ts that we missed? Let us know your personal do’s and don’ts for job interviews!

Photo:  Les Babioles De Zoe

12 Comments
  1. I have another one: don’t sit in the interviewer’s chair! It has happened more than once. And yes, I’ve had candidates show up with their bf/gf and that one time someone came in with his girlfriend and their newborn baby. Don’t do that!

  2. I really agree about being at the interview on right time is important. Try to have a place to stay close to the place we will be interview (if you live far away) or start you journey earlier.

    You can’t imagine running to meet the interviewers with sweat on your clothes and face. :)

  3. I’m always vaguely horrified by the “don’ts” in lists like these! I can’t imagine taking a friend or family member with me to an interview – it just makes me sad that the friend or family member actually went with them without telling the poor interviewee that it might be a bad idea!

  4. Oh! I was once interviewing for a position in the small-town company I ran and received a call from an older woman with whom I’d worked in another organization. She asked if I would interview her son-in-law, who was out of work a year after marrying her gradeschool-teacher daughter. Although he lacked the required bachelor of science degree, I consented as a courtesy.

    The morning of the interview, I made a quick sashay past the lobby; and a twenty-something couple sat on a couch making out. Tongues-down-throats and hands all over each other, really going at it! Unbelievable.

    When the man was ushered into my office, we had a brief interview; and I was courteous, although it was difficult to keep a straight face. His mother-in-law called after I filled the position, upset that he wasn’t chosen. I truly wanted to make a comment about their behavior, but was professional. If they behaved in the same inappropriate manner on other job interviews, at least the receptionists saw and could report to the interviewers.

    I never again interviewed anyone who lacked any required qualification, nor interviewed as a favor to an acquaintance. Years later, I still think about a person with the daughter’s immaturity/inappropriate values being responsible for young children in the classroom!

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