Whether you’re a recent graduate applying for your first position or a mid-career professional looking to advance to the next level, job interviews can be nerve-wracking.
So that you shine at your next in-person job interview, keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind:
Don’t forget to research the company. A lack of knowledge about the company is a huge red flag for hiring managers. Make sure that when you walk into the interview, you know the company’s history, current services or products, market share, competitors and number of employees.
Do prepare questions. This shows you’re truly interested and have given the position a lot of thought. Examples of good questions are, “Can you tell me about the career paths you offer?” and, “What do you think is the most challenging aspect about this position?”
Don’t be late. Hiring managers are busy and usually see more than one candidate per day. Being late isn’t just rude; it will also mess up the interviewer’s schedule—and that’s definitely not going to make a good first impression.
Do dress the part. Find out ahead of time what the accepted dress code is at the company. A good way to do this is to reach out to somebody in your network who works or has worked at the company. If you don’t have any connections to the employer, simply call the company’s reception and ask. It’s better to err on the side of too formal rather than too casual.
Don’t be negative about previous employers. Even if you had an awful experience at a previous employer, never say anything negative. Hiring managers want to see a positive attitude, so find something positive to say about every position you’ve held.
Do tell the truth. Bending or embellishing the truth might be tempting but it won’t do you any good in the long run. The hiring manager might check your experience with previous employers, or a piece of information can be revealed as a lie at a later time. Even if it means admitting you handled a professional situation badly, all is not lost, since you can then explain what you learned from the experience.
Don’t be modest. A job interview is your chance to shine. Speak confidently (not arrogantly) about all of your relevant achievements and skills.
Do be memorable. Hiring managers see numerous good candidates, so find a way to establish rapport. Review the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile to see if you have anything in common or mention some newsworthy event that pertains to the company or industry.
Don’t forget to bring a hard copy of your résumé. It’s always smart to have your résumé on hand in case you need to refer to it.
Do explain how you can be an asset to the company. Forbesa dvises in the article “How to Give a Great Interview” that you should make yourself stand out from the pack by explaining exactly how you can help the company. For example, if the company is expanding overseas and you have international experience, highlight it and emphasize how your knowledge can add value to the company’s operations.
Finally, always send a thank-you email to the hiring manager. This is both polite and keeps you fresh in his or her mind.