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Interview: Dos and Don'ts

An interview is a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee. Here we provide some tips for attending interviews in the proper way.

Interview: Dos and Don
 

 Interview: Dos 

Dress appropriately for the industry. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.

Know the exact time and location of your interview.

Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time [or earlier if the event or employer instructs you to do so].
 
Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions.
 
Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
 
Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
 
Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, until invited to do otherwise.
 
Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
 
Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
 
Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
 
If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification.  
 
Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
 
Be honest and be yourself — your best professional self.  Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers and for firing. You want a good match between yourself and your employer. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will both be unhappy.
 
Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
 
Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
 
Be prepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being prepared will help you.
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.
 
Evaluate the interviewer and the organization she/he represents. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the organization.
 
Make sure you understand the employer's next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
 
When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
 
After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
 
Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.
 
 
Interview: Don'ts
 
Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
 
Don't make negative comments about your previous employers. 
 
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.
 
Don't give the impression that you are only interested in an organization because of its geographic location.
 
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.
 
Don't act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
 
A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
 
Don't assume that a female interviewer is "Mrs." or "Miss." Address her as "Ms." unless told otherwise. (If she has a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree or medical degree, use "Dr. [lastname]" just as you would with a male interviewer. Marital status of anyone, male or female, is irrelevant to the purpose of the interview.
 
Don't chew gum or smell like smoke.
 
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.
 
Don't take your parents,  spouse, fiance, friends or enemies to an interview. If you are not grown up and independent enough to attend an interview alone, you're insufficiently grown up and independent for a job. 

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