The Do's and Don'ts of the Interview Process



  • Dress appropriately. You should dress one level above company dress code. If the code is business casual wear a jacket and tie, but when in doubt wear a suit and tie.
  • No heavy cologne or perfume. Interview rooms tend to be relatively small and you don’t know what scents might be unappealing to the interviewer.
  • Be eager to advance but not over eager. I know your parents have told you that you will be president before your 25th birthday, unfortunately  that is probably not true. Let the interviewer know that you are willing to put in the time at each level and that you want to learn, gain experience, and take on all tasks.
  • Don’t be late or too early. Try and walk in the door 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time. It is OK to arrive early to do some reconnaissance of parking, entrances, etc… But please wait in the car or go get a coffee until it’s time to go in. Understand that the interviewers may have a lot going on and may not be available early.
  • Be Nice. This means to everyone including the parking attendant, security guard, receptionist, and anyone else there.
  • Don't bring a buddy. This should be self-explanatory but a surprising number of people bring a friend that waits for them in the lobby.
  • The Handshake. Don’t be a limp noodle or Hercules. It should be firm and professional.
  • Don’t use slang or foul language. This includes if the interviewer does.
  • Body language. Be mindful of how you sit and stand. Sit straight up with feet on the ground. Try not to cross your arms as it shows you are closed off. Make sure to make eye contact (not a staring contest though).
  • Don’t be negative about past employments. Don’t bash former employers, bosses, or anyone else. If you had issues with a former company or boss, find a way to make it sound positive.
  • Make the company your priority. The interviewer should feel that this job is your number one priority and that you really want the job.
  • Don’t go in blind, research the company prior to the interview. Never ask, “What is it that you do?”. You need to already know this.
  • Be humble. There are a lot of candidates out there, so unless you are the only person on Earth that can complete a certain task, an interviewer does not want to hear about how you are that person. Keep in mind that you need the company more than they need you personally.
  • Don't negotiate at entry level: Pay, vacation time, work hours, working from home, etc. are earned over time. With that being said, you should understand market value of the position before you walk in and have an idea of of what an offer might be. For seasoned candidates or those with special skills these things are negotiable.
  • Bring a notebook and have questions written down. Make sure they are clear and thought out. Doing research on the company will help with this. Try to ask questions that truly peak your interest, you want it to be evident that you are invested in learning about the company.
  • Don’t lose professionalism. Many companies will take you to lunch or to a jobsite in an effort to have you let your guard down and see the “real you” that doesn’t come out in the interview room. You want to make sure that all interactions are professional during the entire hiring process.
  • Afterwards, send a thank you. Make sure you send a note, a card, or an email to interviewers thanking them for their time and telling them how excited you are to join the team.

These are just some things that that have cost candidates jobs. It is already difficult to separate yourself from others so you certainly don’t want to lose a spot over something small.