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Dos and Don'ts at Job Interviews

16 Major Dos and Don'ts at a Job Interview

Job interview coming up? Don't be nervous! Just follow these guidelines below, and you'll be fine.

Do

  • Wear the right outfit: Make sure you know what the dress code is for the office. One good idea is to check with HR before the interview to get a feel of what you should wear.
  • Bring copies of your résumé: Although you're sure the company has your résumé, it never fails to bring copies of your just in case your interviewer needs to look at it and doesn't have it in front of her.
  • Have a nice folder for your résumé: Just so your résumé doesn't look like something cat dragged in, keep it in pristine condition in a professional-looking folder. Here are other important items to bring to an interview.
  • Have the appropriate body language: Be aware of how you're carrying yourself during an interview, because your posture, eye contact, and relaxed position can impress your interviewer. Remember to sit still and straight and don't fidget. Here are more body language tips to help.
  • Give the right answer to the weakness question: This could be the question that could trip you up. Be honest and give a real answer and not a cop-out one. Here are more tips on how to answer the question.
  • Be on time or slightly early: Turning up five to 10 minutes early is the sweet spot for interviews. Showing up too early can make things awkward, and showing up too late is a red flag. But just because you only have to get there shortly before the interview starts doesn't mean that you can leave your house later. Plan to be near the interview spot a lot earlier than when it starts to account for unexpected delays like traffic, and hang around in a nearby coffee shop until it's close to the interview time.
  • Prepare the right questions for the interviewer: Make sure you've prepared a list of good questions to ask your interviewer at the end. Pay attention throughout the interview, so you'll have questions related to what the hiring manager talked about. This shows that you're actively listening.
  • Send a thank you note: Always send a thank you note (here's a good template) after the interview. This is something that's appreciated by a lot of recruiters. It's also your chance to make a final impression or clarify anything you didn't get around to in your interview.

Don't

  • Think the interview is over until you walk out the door: The interview will continue until you walk out the office door, so be careful of your behavior and your words even when your hiring manager is done firing questions at you. Be polite and on top of your game when you are making casual conversation on your way out, and be nice to the receptionist.
  • Get too relaxed: Your interviewer can seem like your long-lost BFF, but . . . she's not. And you shouldn't treat her like one. It's OK to be friendly, but you're still trying to make a good impression. Don't be too relaxed or you may slip up and do something that's unprofessional. She's not going to base the interview solely on how likeable you are.
  • Badmouth your old job: Maybe you had a boss à la Devil Wears Prada, but your hiring manager doesn't need to know that. Badmouthing your former employer just gives off negative vibes and detracts from your professionalism.
  • Be unprepared: This should be obvious, but research the company to death. Here's how. This is so you can craft your answers to fit the kind of candidate they're looking for and show that you're diligent and have done your homework.
  • Address salary or benefits until the interviewer does: OK, so they are very important factors for you, but hold off until you get the job offer. Your interviewer wants to see what you can do for the company, not what's in it for you.
  • Freak out if you don't know the answer: The interviewer just threw you a big curveball by asking you to do some calculations when you have a phobia of math. Don't. Freak. Out. The worst thing you can do is to clam up when you don't know an answer, because you won't be able to think clearly and may throw out a bad answer in panic. Here's what to do you if you don't know how to answer a question.
  • Lie: Never, ever lie. Being found out will ruin your chances of getting the job. Plus if you make up something, you may not be able to talk at length about it without slipping up. Generally speaking, honesty is the best policy! Here are some of the common lies you need to avoid.
  • Talk about your problems: You need the job to pay off your student loans, blah blah. The hiring manager does not want to hear about your 99 problems, and although you're being honest, it can come off as a pity party. You will be hired based on your qualifications, potential for success, and your fit with the culture. Everything else will be secondary to those factors.
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