Interview Do's and Don'ts

Learn from mistakes of others. Here's "18 Deadly Interview Mistakes Job Seekers Make,"
adapted from Drs. Caryl and Ron Krannich's 101 Dynamite Answers to Interview Questions.

Be on time.

Visualize yourself working in the company for three months, six months. Questions will take on the tone of the first person rather than the third person. Try to imagine what you will be doing in six months.

Arrive late for the interview.
Being early is usually interpreted by the interviewer as evidence of your commitment, dependability, and professionalism. Indicate you are late because the directions you were given were not good.
Dress up for the interview. Greet people with a firm handshake and smile. Look disheveled and inappropriately dressed.
Avoid negative body language. An interviewer wants to see how well you react under pressure. Avoid these signs of nervousness and tension:
  • Faking a cough to think about an answer to a question
  • Gnawing on your lip
  • A tight or forced smile
  • Swinging your foot or leg
  • Folding or Crossing your arms
  • Slouching
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Chewing gum

Make eye contact with the interviewer and answer all questions in a clear voice. Try to establish a rapport with the interviewer.

Don't maintain good eye contact with the interviewer.

Research the company before the interview. Find out as much as you can about the company culture and the position before the interview. Do your company research at the interview by asking, "What do you guys do here?"
Talk about what functions of the job you could perform that would benefit the organization, give specific details of how you have helped past employers. You might also ask about specific details of the job position, such as functions, responsibilities, who you would work with and who you would report to. Don't make a connection between your skills and the needs of the employer.
Show self confidence.

Listen. Communication is a two way street. If you are talking too much, you will probably miss cues concerning what the interviewer feels is important.

Brag about how great you are, but neglect to cite evidence of your accomplishments.

Be positive and try to make others feel comfortable.

Respond in an unfocused, disorganized manner.

Imagine yourself working for the company. Imagine being there in three six months. Questions will take on a first person tone. Ask "What will I be doing in this position", instead of "What will the person you hire be doing."

Remain low-key and display no enthusiasm for the job.

Reflect before answering a difficult question.

Answer most questions with simple yes or no.

Show you want the job.

Appear desperate for a job - any job.

Know the names of the people who will be interviewing you.

Call the interviewer by his or her first name, or use the wrong name.

Relax. Think of the interview as a conversation not an interrogation. And remember the interviewer is just as nervous about making a good impression on you.

Give memorized responses, forgetting parts in the process.

Speak positively about former employers.

Badmouth your current and former employer.

When it is your turn, ask questions you have prepared in advance. These should cover any information about the company and job position you could not find in your own research.

When asked, "Do you have any questions?" reply "No."

Focus on your technical skills and what you have to offer the company

Do not ask questions that raise red flags. Ask, "Is relocation a requirement?" and the interviewer may assume that you do not want to relocate at all. Too many questions about vacation may cause the interviewer to think you are more interested in taking the time off than helping the company. Make sure the interviewer understands why you are asking these questions.

Speak about salary only after the employer brings up the subject and then only confirm what you are currently making.

Blurt out "I need to make at least $35,000. I hope this job pays at least that much", near the beginning of the interview.

End the interview with a handshake and thank the interviewer for their time.

Ask "How am I doing? Are you going to hire me?"

Send a note thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Send a thank you note a week later.