Interview Do's and Don'ts

What to do in an interview. What not to do in an interview.

Regardless of the economy at large, hiring managers are selective in their choices. To better your chances, stand apart from the crowd. The interview gives you this opportunity, so take it and take it seriously. 

Do: Show up early for the interview—a whole day early to scope out the place and prepare to dress up from the crowd

Don’t: Show up too early for the appointment. Hiring managers are busy people and don’t need the distraction of knowing someone is waiting for them and having to make a decision whether not to accommodate him.

Do: Express yourself and stay involved in the conversation. Ask questions relevant to the job and offer your best sales pitch on how you fit the bill.

Don’t: Over gesticulate or fidget. You are not a philharmonic conductor and the hiring manager isn’t there to see your command of an imaginary baton.

Do: Empty your pockets. Pockets hold things: keys, mobile phones, and change—all of which make noise. Put your cell phone on silent and leave the coins at home for laundry.

Don’t: Wear excessive jewelry like extra earrings or nose rings. Cover any tattoos or “body art”, the professional world relates to professionally dressed people.

Do: Speak about weaknesses when asked. Don’t bother trying to spin it into a positive, unless you seriously believe the hiring manager has never heard of the trick. When asked, explain a past weakness and how you dealt in overcoming it.

Don’t: Speak ill of past employers. So you hated her guts, she arrived late, took long lunches, and piled last minute to-do items on you Friday at 4:59pm. Don’t mention it; rather focus on how you are an asset. If you were let go from your last position, simply state it was a business decision.

Do: Express your strengths and achievements. When asked about experience, sell your best stuff—after all you are the only one who will tout your accomplishments.

Don’t: Rattle-off past job duties. Responsibilities don’t show accomplishment or success, numbers, percentages, ratios, awards, and honors do. Structure your resume this way as well.

Owen Richason is a small business consultant and freelance writer. He is a former business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier," and his work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle’s website small business section.

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Aileen Tecson
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