Assertive Solutions

Interview dos and don’ts

by Assertive Solutions in Tips

As recruitment consultants, we’ve heard a few stories and seen a few things in our time; especially when it comes to the things people do in job interviews so we know the most common gripes.

As a result, we know what definitely not to do in an interview. Below are our top interview don’ts (as well as a few pointers on how to get things right):

Interview Don’ts:

  • Don’t be late or get lost. You’ll be seen as unprofessional. Remember, the early bird catches the worm!
  • Don’t swear or use slang words. It might impress your friends, but it isn’t appropriate in formal situations such as an interview.
  • Don’t slouch or look bored. This can put people off. You need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! Keenness is considered a plus when it comes to job seekers.
  • Don’t smoke. This is not a social situation, and you don’t want to smell as though you’ve just come out of a nightclub, so save that ciggie for afterwards.
  • Don’t lie. The interviewer will probably see through you and can also do background checks, so you may get caught out. Even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest. So, really, it’s just not worth it.
  • Don’t let your nerves show. A few nerves are normal but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and remember: this isn’t a life or death situation – there are plenty of other jobs out there! Being prepared and organised about getting there can often go a long way to helping you keep calm and centred, so don’t leave everything until the last minute.
  • Don’t be arrogant. Express the fact that you’re interested but never assume you’ve got the job. Nothing turns employers off more than someone who is disrespectful or overconfident.
  • Don’t discuss controversial topics. A bit like dinner parties, topics such as religion, politics and gender relations are best avoided.
  • Don’t read from notes or your CV. At this stage in the process, you should be familiar enough with your own employment history to be able to talk about it unprompted. Notes make you look unprepared and prevent you from making eye contact with people, which can be a real turn-off.
  • Don’t criticise or badmouth former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip, so be as diplomatic as possible and never bring any negative experiences up, unless asked about them.
  • Don’t argue with the interviewer – no matter what. It’s just bad form and could show that you have an attitude problem. Remember to keep things positive, even if you feel under pressure or don’t agree with what’s been said.

Interview Do’s:

  • Dress clean and look keen. Dress neatly and smartly for interviews; always 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.
  • Know where you’re going and be organised. Plan your outfit and trip like a military operation – know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Save time by laying out your outfit the night before. That way, you’ll remove any reasons for being late and minimise common stresses that can cause interview nerves.
  • Prepare a mental cheat sheet. Examine the person specification and your CV/application form before your interview as it may give you the inside edge on what you might be asked, as well as arm you with relevant, well-thought out answers to help you ace your interview.
  • Turn off your mobile phone. Treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention.
  • Take your time before answering questions. Make sure you understand what’s being asked and take your time if you need to think about your answer. It’s better to pause and consider, than waffle and blow it! Also, focus on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you.
  • Don’t be shy about your achievements. This is the time to blow your own trumpet, so sell yourself – no one else is going to! Be positive about yourself and your experiences – basically convince your interviews they have to have you.
  • Know what you’re worth and negotiate like a pro. When discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than what you’d like to earn – it’s easier to go down than get people to go up when it comes to salary offers.
  • Get feedback on your performance. Whether you were successful or not, it’s always good to know what you did right and where you can improve, so ask your recruitment agent for some constructive comments.

Above all, preparation is the key to performing well in interviews. Research both the role and organisation, and prepare evidence and examples of your skills and competencies. Substance, more than style, is what will get you the job, so don’t spend all your prep time doing your hair!

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