Interview Do's and Don'ts

Here are a few tips from the team at Interview Advantage to consider for your next interview.  These recommendations are based on years of interview experience and training from multiple Fortune 100 companies. 

• Do wear dress clothes for any interview (minimum for men and women is dress shoes, slacks/skirt, button up shirt/blouse and a tie or jacket – suit is preferred).

• Do bring a portfolio with several copies of your resume.  Take notes on topics like PTO, 401K match rate, and insurance.

• Do ask at least 4 - 5 questions at the end of each interview including a closing question so you know exactly where you stand with the interviewers.  If you don’t have any questions it could send a message of poor preparation, lack of interest, or lack of engagement – all negative messages.

• Do bring your interview guide and don’t be afraid to reference it to support your answers.  Interviewers have a list of questions and you have prepared a guide to help you answer.  If an interviewer asks you about it, you get to say, “I take this interview very seriously and spent several hours preparing.  I may refer to it a few times because I want to answer your questions as effectively as possible.”  (Your interviewer will be blown away by your preparation and your answer – most candidates don't bring prepared notes or written questions).

• Don’t use broad sweeping statements that begin with usually, always, or never.  They are indicators that interviewers are taught to look for that is an indicator that the candidate may be stretching the truth.

• Don’t ramble.  Answer the questions with an appropriate level of detail and stay within the guidelines of the question.  As an interviewer it can be very frustrating when a candidate goes off on tangents that may not be relevant to the question.  There is only so much time allocated for an interview and if the candidate is rambling it takes away time from more relevant information.

• Don’t wear jeans, tennis shoes, or t-shirts to an interview regardless of the role or type of business.  Let the interviewers know they are worth the extra 15 minutes to get dressed up.  It sends a positive message you are serious about the job and you are trying to make a good impression.  We have never heard an interviewer say, “That candidate was really over dressed!”

• Don’t use foul language for any reason.  Cursing at an interview shows a concerning lack of discretion.

• Don’t assume you have the job because you know one of the interviewers or decision-makers.  In most cases your path to the job is more difficult because the interviewer you know has their reputation on the line.  If they have recommended you to their peers, how well you interview (or poorly) will be considered a direct reflection of their judgment of talent.  You need to bring nothing less than your ‘A’ game if you know one of the interviewers or decision-makers so you can make them look good, and get an offer.