Interviews – do’s and don’ts
An interview is a discussion between you and an employer to find out if you can do the job. It’s your chance to make a good impression. However, there are certain rules you should follow in interviews.
What to do:
- dress smartly, look bright and attentive, and speak clearly and confidently. Don’t forget that in the first few minutes only 7% of the interviewer’s opinion of you is formed by what you say – the rest is judged on how you look, act and sound
- find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
- get your outfit ready the night before
- find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare
- examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
- prepare answers for the main questions – for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are the main tasks in this job?
- make about three or four points in each answer
- quote real examples of when you’ve used certain skills – just saying you’ve got a skill isn’t enough
- take your time when answering the questions: make sure you understand the question and take your time if you need to think
- sell yourself: no one else is going to! Be positive about yourself and your experiences
- prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview – use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. (Don’t ask about money or perks just yet!)
- when discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than this
- get feedback on your performance, whether you were successful or not
- turn off your mobile phone: treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention
- keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you
What not to do:
- don’t be late
- don’t swear or use slang words
- don’t slouch in your seat or do anything that makes you look uninterested
- don’t smoke
- don’t lie: the interviewer may see through you. Even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest
- don’t let your nerves show too much; a few nerves are normal but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and try to remember that it’s not a life and death situation – there are plenty of jobs out there!
- don’t be arrogant and assume you’ve got the job. Nothing turns off employers more than someone who is disrespectful and over-confident
- don’t discuss controversial topics such as religion, politics and gender relations
- don’t read from notes or your CV — you should be familiar enough with your own history to be able to talk about it unprompted
- don’t criticise former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip
- don’t argue with the interviewer, no matter what. Remember to keep things positive!