Do's and Dont's of an Interview

Posted on 19th Aug 2016 | 3147 views

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"If you're going on even an entry-level job interview take the time to follow up with a handwritten note, even if your handwriting isn't the best and even if you can't use four-syllable words. Just showing that initiative makes a difference. If someone takes the time to write a note . . . I've had many employers tell me it's a way they make a decision about hiring."- Cindy Zimmermann


I. What to Do....

1.Dress appropriately for the industry

The Suit:A single breasted suit is suitable for all kinds of employment like entry level jobs and experienced jobs also. Wear a single breasted suit with more than two buttons. Button the entire suit, except the bottom button.


Fabric &color: Wear 100% wool fabric made suits to be more comfortable for an interview. Look for suit jackets that are fully lined and pants that are lined to the knee. Charcoal grey and Navy blue colours are most appropriate colours for the interview. Whether pinstriped, plaid, firm or herringbone, these colors always represent a professional look and are ideal for more conservative fields like accounting, law, and medicine.

The shirt: White and other light coloured shirts are best for your first interview. Cotton fabric is best for shirts as wool for suits. It is also important to wear long sleeved shirt for an interview.

The ties: The tie color should match your shirt/suit color. The pattern/design should be conservative, not flashy. Prefer dry cleaned silk ties for best knot.

The accessories: The other important thing to remember is matching of belt with shoes and watch. Wear limited jewellery to appear professional in interview. Your socks colour should match with your suit. Like Black with black, grey with grey and tan with tan. Be sure that your shoes are shined and edges are not faded and laces are not broken.

2. Know the exact time and location of your interview


Make sure that you have the correct location address, contact number and reaching directions to the interview point. Reaching late for a job interview will be considered as an unprofessional attitude. Rather arrive at the interview early and have spare time to compose yourself, catch your breath and take one final look at yourself before stepping into the interview room.

3. Do take an extra copy of your resume and a list of references with you to the interview

Prepare an interview CV to present the interviewer with an opportunity to examine your working history. It is also important to prepare in detail about the previous working experience, if the interviewer wish to know more in detail. It is also very important that you are having in-depth knowledge of the details within your CV to answer the interviewer questions. Before going for an interview prepare a list of testimonial references for your interviewer to contact. The provided references should be credible and reliable and based on the truthful information of your work ethics and credibility. Make sure that the provided contact details are valid and still available to refer you.

4. Do prepare and practice the different types of job interviews that you might have


Your interview performance can be increased by practicing before an interview. Attend some mock interviews to give you a leading edge in the performance during the final interview. There are different types of interviews conducted by the interviewers.

Some of them are as follows:

1. Screening: In Person or via Telephone

2. One-on-One

3. Panel or Committee

4. Behavioral

5. Lunch or Breakfast

6. Group Discussion

7. Audition Interview

8. Stress Interview

9. Serial or Follow-up

10. Informational

5. Do prepare yourself for behavioral questions concerning situations you have encountered in the past, and how you would handle them in the future

A well-prepared applicant has an immediate advantage in an interview. In addition, being well-prepared and hands-on will reduce the job interview anxiety. Bring all the interview documents you might need, such as your resume, cover letter, business cards, references, licenses, certifications, a pen and notepad. Behavioral interviewing is all about explaining specific situations you encountered in a particular situation. While explaining your situations please include background details such as where you were working and what your role was, when you faced those situations.


Always use 'I' statements and not 'we' statements. The interviewers are mainly concerned with your personal experience. You may be asked to identify a contact person, who can confirm the situation you have selected to discuss. Remember to be as specific as possible

(STAR): - Describe the Situation (S) - Give details on what you had done - Tasks (T) - Give details on Actions you have taken (A) - Tell them what was the Result of the situation (R)

6.Do have a high confidence and energy level, but don't be overly aggressive

Any organization wants to hire people who are energetic. Be energetic at the time of interview and don't be aggressive. Many interviewers start with the interview question like, 'Tell about yourself.' If you cannot enthusiastically talk about yourself for at least five minutes or so, the interviewer will surprise if you'll be interested in your future job for much longer.

7. Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect

The above statement is applicable to group interviews. Treat others in your group with respect. Their opinions on you might be asked during hiring decisions. Listen to what others in your group have to say, but state your views respectfully, even if those views are different. Offer a reason if you do not agree with someone's statement. Be confident but not aggressive. Don't disrupt others and let finish their sentences. Praise and appreciate others' contributions and try to involve quiet people in the conversation. Work to build consent within the group and take criticism with grace.

8. Do express yourself clearly with a strong voice and good diction and grammar


Express clearly with a strong voice and good diction at the time of interview. Develop a list of power words that would be appropriate for you and the position for which you are applying. You may, for example, want to say that in your last job you created spreadsheets, instead of making them. Some other examples of power words are: achieved,compiled,determined, instructed and managed. Also, instead of phrases like & I think or I would like, try using more positive-sounding phrases like I recommend or My goal is. Use power words in your interview. Try to use them in a proper way and they should convey a sense of responsibility, experience and self-confidence to your interviewer. Try to sound natural. Your use of power words should be fine and flow easily. Conclude your interview graciously and confidently, and walk away feeling good. Using power words is not an absolute guarantee of employment, but you can definitely make a difference from your competitors who use average and informal language.

9. Maintain good eye contact during an interview


Make eye contact and smile. Maintaining eye contact during your interview is very important aspect. If you let your eyes wander around the room, you can appear negligent and disinterested in the proceedings and can lose the job. It is very important to keep looking at the person talking with you. And also ensure that looking deep into persons eye will create good impression during job interview.

10. Do have as much knowledge about the industry, employer and position as possible

Try to communicate what you know about the company when answering questions. Knowing as much as possible about the company's past performance and future plans can make your interview more interactive to be competitive in job market. When discussing your career accomplishments match them to what the company is looking for. Some important points to know about the company are:

- Company size in terms of number of employees and revenues

- Ownership

- History and notable milestones

- Products and services

- Industry trends

- Job description of position you are seeking

- Several formulated questions to further your understanding of the company, its current challenges and future goals

11. Be honest and be yourself - your best professional self

It would be a rare person who doesn't have some career baggage, whether it's being fired from a previous job, a poor reference, a major character flaw, a criminal record, being slightly under-qualified or another skeleton, which doesn't want to be exposed at the time of interview. Be honest at a job interview. The truths about you will come out eventually while performance checks of the job. It is also very important to avoid negative criticism about the old company. Be professional yourself.

12. Exhibit a positive attitude

The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with. Try to keep smiling and maintain a positive attitude during your interview. If you feel that you are not doing well or you don't have a good answer ready, don't express worried. If you have questions or concerns, put them to the interviewer when the time is right. You need to portray a confident and positive image when you attend your interview. Show confidence in your abilities without appearing arrogant. Describe your accomplishments exactly in brief. A positive body language plays an important role in conveying to others how you feel at any time. So, be confident and sit up straight and practice good posture.

13. Do take time to think before answering difficult or unexpected questions


Some interviewers may ask very strange and unexpected questions. Many interviewers feel that these kinds of questions may be helpful to set aside the potential candidates from the group. These questions don't help how you will do the job, but these questions will help how you will fit with others. Questions like 'what are your strengths and weaknesses'? are not unexpected questions. But they are usual questions. 'What If'?questions related to organization and work culture are asked to evaluate your personality. Some interviewers may ask different fantasy questions which are unrelated to the real world of work to test your lateral thinking. Example: what three things would you take on a trip to Mars?

Follow below strategies for the unexpected and difficult questions:

- Practice some answers to these kinds of model questions

- Respond with good humor

- Don't take the question too seriously ? If you are given a difficult question, take some time and think for the answer.

14. Do switch off your phone


One of the biggest mistakes done by the people is answering phone within a job interview. Once you arrive at the location, turn the cell phone off; don't even touch it until you leave the building after the interview. It is not advisable to put your mobile on silent mode. Because your employer can hear the phone vibrating in your pocket and assumes that you didn't care enough about the job to turn off your cell phone. If you must answer a call, notify the interviewer beforehand and give the full explanation.

15. Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly

Write a thank you letter to your employer, following an interview within 2 business days. Write the interviewer a letter showing pleasure and thanks for the interview. The purpose of this letter is to:

- Show approval for the employer's interest in you.

- Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization.

- Remind the employer about your qualifications for the position.

- Demonstrate that you have good manners and know to write a thank-you letter.

II. What Not to Do....

1. Don't be late to the interview


Arriving early for an interview can play an important role in avoiding last minute confusion. Reaching 15 minutes early will always give a great first impression. You'll be able to relax and grow comfortable with your surroundings. If you are late for an interview, be honest when giving a reason for your lateness. There's basically no excuse for being late. Below factors can be helpful in reaching early to the interview.

- Consider allowing an extra half an hour or more to your travailing time especially when catching public transport.

- Set more than one alarm clock.

- Get a good night sleep the night before.

2. Don't be overaggressive

Don't show over enthusiasm, overbearing or conceited at an interview. You know yourself and your background better than the interviewer does, so it is your responsibility to be sure that all-important topics are discussed. Be sure to answer the questions. Pay attention to what the interviewer is asking. If a question isn't clear, ask for clarification. Take time to think of your answer. Elaborate on your responses when appropriate. Give examples whenever possible. Remember that this is no time to be modest, but rather you need to confidently state your skill set.

3. Don't treat the interview casually

Don't go for an interview if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. Be prepared for an interview. Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during the hiring process. Don't show a lack of interest or over enthusiasm.

4. Don't give an impression you are only interested in salary

Of course our salaries are important to us as they put food in our mouths but don't ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer. Because you don't want to look like you got into job for the money. Focus on the work, the challenge and let the money come later.

5.Don't allow your cell phone to sound during an interview

As already mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make while being interviewed is picking up a call. Not only does it look impolite and unprofessional, it also gives your prospective boss the impression that you?re not taking the job seriously. Bosses and interviewers understand that you may want to pick up the phone in case it?s an emergency. Reading or replying to an SMS message is almost as bad-mannered as picking up a call while in an interview.

6. Don't let anxiety or nervousness take control stay cool and confident

Treat your interview like a final exam. If you prepare well, the test will be easy. Practice makes progress. The more you interview and the more comfortable and polished you will become.

7. Don't take your parents, your pet, spouse, fiance, friends or enemies to an interview


Don't take your parents, your pet, spouse, fianci, 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. Don?t bring your personal issues to office.

8. Don't criticize past employers or institutions of education

Most companies just prefer a positive person over a negative one who will drag down everyone else around them. And, our industry is very small-it could be that the person you are criticizing is a good friend of the person interviewing you. Some companies don't like the idea that someday, when you move on, you may end up saying bad things about them to your next potential employer.

9. Don't disagree with yourself in responses

If the interviewer makes a comment that you don't agree with, don't argue. It will tell the employer that you are argumentative. Let the interviewer know you contradicted yourself but say that you wanted to show how flexible you are. Stay positive and optimistic. This demonstrates your confidence.

10. Don't smoke

Don't smoke, even if the interviewer does offer a cigarette to you also. And don't smoke beforehand so that you smell like smoke. Use mouthwash or breathe mint before the interview.

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