The dos and don’ts of job interviews

It should come as no surprise that getting a new job depends largely on a successful interview. To achieve a great result in your interview you will need to be well-prepared, as well as avoid some typical interview faux pas. This will help increase your confidence while facing the pressure of a job interview so you can make sure you put your best foot forward.

To help you ace your interview, I have prepared 10 dos and don’ts for job interviews. 

The dos 

1. Do your assignment

The first and most crucial stage in the job interview process is preparation. Going in without preparation means letting yourself down before the interview even begins. Doing some research on the firm you are interviewing for can give you a leg up and demonstrate your interest in the industry.

To expand your investigation and find out what the media is saying about the firm, check out their website and current news stories. Don’t stop there; be sure to look into the interviewer’s backgrounds as well, including their professional experience and notable accomplishments.

2. Do a last-minute check

Before the interview, check your teeth, hair, and attire. Make sure everything you need is with you including your resume and any document you were asked to bring with you. If it is something you can fix before your interview, then do it immediately. If not, then remain calm and try to salvage the situation as best as you can. 

3. Create a favourable first impression

First impressions matter greatly when attending a job interview. It could very well be the reason you are hired or not. If you are attending a face-to-face interview, make travel arrangements, practice the interview if it will be in an unfamiliar setting, and arrive for the interview a few minutes early. It is unacceptable to arrive late for a job interview. Bring your resume and make sure you are familiar with the contents so you can discuss it with assurance and provide examples.

If your job interview is online, you will still need to make adequate preparations to make a good first impression. To minimize technical difficulties during a video interview, test your video tool the day before. On the day of the interview, make sure you are prepared and in a comfortable, peaceful location, at least 15 minutes early. The best option is to grin confidently and project enthusiasm and engagement; you won’t have the luxury of a solid handshake or making eye contact with the interviewer.

It’s crucial to look the part, and a well-fitting suit is usually a safe choice. Your presentation shows how interested you are in the position and how much you care about leaving a positive impression.

4. Be composed

During the interview, give a firm handshake to every person you encounter. For improved posture during the interview, choose to sit on a chair rather than on a sofa. As additional persons enter the room to participate in the interview, get up from your chair to provide a warm greeting and shake hands.

Try not to be anxious. Remember that this won’t be an interrogation; this will be more of a chat. Relax, and calm yourself before the interview. It won’t do you well if you are too anxious to do well in your interview. Preparing adequately beforehand, and making yourself familiar with your interview environment will help.

5. Be truthful and authentic 

Portray your best self in the interview, and never someone you are not. When dishonesty is exposed, employment offers are rescinded and people are fired. You want your boss and yourself to get along well. You will not be satisfied with your job if you pretend to be someone else to be employed.

6. Present a cheerful disposition

If only for your cheerful disposition, your interviewer should want to employ you. The interviewer is assessing you for a possible position with them which means you will become their colleague if you are employed so act in a way that makes them want to collaborate with you. 

7. Pay attention and respond appropriately

You should give your interviewer your undivided attention, do not let your mind wander while you are in an interview. Interviewers complain much too often that the applicant does not provide a straight and concise response to the query. Listen carefully and provide relevant, experience-based examples in your responses to any question you are asked. Make sure you respond to the questions the interviewer asks, not just the ones you think you should.

Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language and tone of voice in addition to what they say. Adapt your responses to better connect to the interviewer after you have a better understanding of their thought process. Ask the interviewer for clarification before responding to any unclear questions.

8. Prepare thoughtful questions for your interviewer

Keep in mind that an interview is a two-way conversation; by offering questions, you may show that you are interested in the position and that you are driven to achieve for the firm. It will also help you stand out from the competition. It will also help you decide whether this is the opportunity or company you want to work for.

Make sure to research the company thoroughly and ask questions that show you have done your homework. Ask about your concerns and explanations for things you didn’t understand when you were researching the company. Act with courtesy and decency, but have an open mind regarding the organization’s principles and goals as well as how you are treated.

9. Promote your abilities and knowledge

Make sure you succinctly and truthfully convey to the interviewer what your strengths are. 

Any abilities that are pertinent to the position will be brought to light by effectively communicating your expertise and accomplishments. Prepare a career narrative that highlights your interests, talents, and experiences. You should also include personal anecdotes that highlight your professional and behavioural qualities. Emphasize achievements that are most relevant to the position.

10. Make an elegant exit

You may have done incredibly in your interview and then ruined it by leaving too hastily. Thank your interviewer before leaving, and offer a handshake as well. And lastly, send a thank you email and show your enthusiasm in hearing from them. This keeps you in the forefront of their thoughts and is courteous.

The don’ts

1. Don’t disparage your previous or current employment in public

Even if they are the competitors of the firm you are applying for, never talk bad about your previous and current employers. Never mention anything bad about a past workplace, even if you had a terrible time there. This is a serious red flag, and it will cause your interviewer to doubt your professionalism and believe you would do the same to them. Discover something good to say about each employment you’ve had since hiring managers want to see a positive mindset

2. Never misrepresent information

Respond to inquiries honestly and as concisely as you can. Describe and explain aspects about yourself that are relevant to the job being offered and accurately represent your prior experience. When you are being questioned about something that is not one of your strong points, be truthful, and let the interviewer know that you are open to learning more about it and how you can improve your knowledge of it. After that, mention any advantages you may have in a different field.

3. Don’t interrupt the interviewer

Being a good talker and listener is equally crucial. It demonstrates your maturity and adeptness in social situations. When your interviewer is talking or asking you a question, never interrupt them. Wait for them to finish before talking. He or she won’t have time to listen if you don’t.

4. Never allow a previous rejection to affect a subsequent one

Looking for a good job is never easy. You may have to attend several interviews and get rejected a few times. It is a normal aspect of life so do not allow yourself to get discouraged or angry, instead try to regard each interview as a fresh chance and take note of any errors you’ve made in the past. To make sure you are at your best, try to give yourself some time between interviews if you have many scheduled.

5. Do not be too relaxed

Remember that this is an interview. No matter what level of the interview you are at or who you are meeting with—it might be over coffee, a few drinks, or just a last conversation—it is still a chance to determine if you are a good fit for the position. 

Try to maintain professionalism as much as you can. Don’t put anything on the interviewer’s desk, smoke, or chew gum. Even if the interviewer seems acquainted, don’t seem too friendly, use first names, joke a lot, give yourself pats on the back, etc. When your interviewer greets you, give a strong handshake, look them in the eye, and wear a smile. Avoid using your mobile phone during the interview. If it does ring, swiftly apologize and turn it off. Also, avoid answering calls and checking text messages.

Make sure you get the name and pronunciation of your interviewer by paying attention. Until instructed differently, address your interviewer using their title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, even if they provide you their first and last names.

6. Do not ramble

Long responses may come out as unsure of yourself, or lacking concentration. On the other hand, steer clear of providing a simple, straightforward “yes” or “no” response to inquiries. Instead, use succinct, targeted examples from your past work experience.

7. Do not accept poor treatment

Anticipate receiving adequate treatment and do not let yourself be treated otherwise no matter how much you want the job. 

8. Don’t make excuses

Accept accountability for the choices and deeds you commit to. This will show that you are a responsible individual and will take account of your mistakes in the workplace. 

9. Avoid coming off as materialistic or desperate

Acting as if you would accept any job or that you need work is not appropriate.

Avoid conveying the idea that an organization’s location is the primary reason it interests you. Avoid coming off as a salary-focused person and wait to inquire about compensation and perks until the employer brings it up. 

10. Do not be too humble

Your moment to shine is during a job interview. Talk with confidence about all of your noteworthy accomplishments and abilities. However, you should avoid bragging. 

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Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa is a content writer with MakeMoney.ng. She writes predominantly on topics related to education, technology and business. She is an English language major.

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