While it’s something pounded into the minds of most jobseekers, the list of interview dos and don’ts is extensive and always worthy of re-mentioning. The interview is one of the single most important aspects on landing the position, second to your resume. The interview, whether a phone interview or in-person, gives recruiters and hiring managers their first true impressions of you. It’s the time when you can make or break an opportunity.
Dress professionally. Unprofessional attire, including your hairstyle and accessories, can lead an interviewer to the wrong conclusion (or right conclusion, depending on how you look at it). In short, dress to impress. This is your golden opportunity to shine. If you’re unsure of the business’ dress code or standard, kick it up a notch. A safe bet for most positions is a shirt and tie for gentlemen, slacks or a nice skirt and top for females. Wear closed-toe shoes and keep costume jewelry to a minimum (for many positions, but certainly not all).
Chew gum or bring in a drink. Chewing gum just prior to the interview is an ideal way to freshen breath, but be sure to dispose of it before you meet your interviewer. This goes for phone interviews, as well. Even if you’re not actively chewing the gum, there is a distinct difference in your annunciations and speaking when you have something in your mouth.
Listen intently to your interviewer and be sure you understand all of the questions. They have important questions for you and your answers could make or break your opportunity.
Interrupt your interviewer. Wait until he is done speaking to bring up any concerns or ask for further clarification. If you’re participating in a phone interview, never put the interviewer on hold or ask for them to “hold on for a moment.”
Bring your cell phone into an interview. There are some instances when a cell phone may be needed during an interview, particularly if you are going to be filling out paperwork and need specific information that is stored on your phone. If this is the case, ensure your phone is on silent (SILENT, turn off the vibration, too).
Remember the interviewer is a person, just like you, but one that is playing an integral part in your future. Smile, indulge in their small jokes (if they offer them) and be friendly, yet professional. This is a relationship-building procedure, even if you won’t have contact with the interviewer after you’ve received the position. This is your chance to show off your personality (professionally) to help you build a relationship with your potential employer.
The goal is to impress your interviewer and land the job. This means being professional throughout the entire duration of the interview, making eye contact, smiling and showing the interviewer that you have what it takes to be part of their team.