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Career Services - Students

The Do's and Don'ts of Interviewing

Interview DO's

  • Dress appropriately for the industry; err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
  • Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
  • Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
  • Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions.
  • Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
  • Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
  • Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, until invited to do otherwise.
  • Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
  • Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
  • Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.
  • Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
  • Be honest and be yourself. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers and for firing. You want a good match between yourself and your employer. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will both be unhappy.
  • Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
  • Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  • Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
  • Evaluate the interviewer and the organization s/he represents. An interview is a two-way street.
  • Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the organization.
  • Do expect to be treated appropriately. If you believe you were treated inappropriately or asked questions that were inappropriate or made you uncomfortable, discuss this with a Career Services advisor or the director.
  • Make sure you understand the employer's next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
  • When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact.
  • Depart gracefully.
  • After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
  • Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.

Interview DON'Ts

  • Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
  • Don't make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  • Don't falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
  • Don't treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the organization.
  • Don't give the impression that you are only interested in an organization because of its geographic location.
  • Don't give the impression you are only interested in salary; don't ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.
  • Don't act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
  • Don't make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in; it is not the interviewer's job to act as a career advisor to you.
  • Don't be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared looks foolish.
  • A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
  • Don't go to extremes with your posture; don't slouch, and don't sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
  • Don't assume that a female interviewer is "Mrs." or "Miss." Address her as "Ms." unless told otherwise. Her marital status is irrelevant to the purpose of the interview.
  • Don't chew gum or smell like smoke.
  • Don't take cell phone calls during an interview. If you carry a cell phone, turn it off during the interview to be sure it doesn't ring.
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