The Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing

Going on an interview is probably always going to be at least a little nerve wracking. That’s totally normal! However, there are a few simple things you can do – and a few you should avoid – to have a better chance of making a good impression and landing the job.

DO: Prepare before the interview.

You should definitely go into the interview having some general knowledge of the company and the role that you’re interviewing for. What does the position all entail? How does the company make a profit? How big or small is the company? Do you fit all of the qualifications? What do the employees have to say about the company on social media sites? If you don’t even remember applying for the role, that’s a red flag to the interviewer showing that you aren’t really that interested in the opportunity. If you don’t care about the role or company enough to do some basic research, you shouldn’t even waste your time going through an interview.

DON’T: Sound too scripted.

While it’s important to prepare beforehand, at the same time, you don’t want to sound too scripted. If it sounds like you’re just reiterating sentences you read on the company’s website, it can come off as insincere. You want to be yourself in the interview as much as possible. At the end of the day, an interview is just a conversation with another person, so it should sound natural and genuine.

DO: Answer all the questions.

One of the worst things you can do in an interview is not answer a question. Now granted, some questions are meant to throw you off. If you don’t have an answer right away, ask for a few seconds to think of something. But honestly, a poor response to a question is still better than not being able to come up with anything at all. Saying you don’t know makes things awkward and shows that you can’t think on your feet. So make sure you answer everything, even if you don’t have an amazing answer.

DON’T: Get emotional.

Interviews can get really personal. You’re talking about your past experiences and the things that have led you to this point – sometimes that can be hard to talk about. However, you never want your emotions to get the best of you. If you can’t tell a part of your past without getting emotional, then skip over that part. It’s a much better idea to stay professional the entire time than to get angry, upset, or stressed about something. If you’re asked about a time in your life that’s hard to talk about, keep your answer short and simple and move on.

DO: Send a follow-up email.

Does sending a follow-up email mean you’re automatically going to get the job? Honestly, no. But it is something that can set you apart from the competition because not that many candidates send a follow-up email. Even just sending a quick email with a few sentences reiterating your favorite part of the conversation and how you feel like you’d be an asset to the company is better than nothing. It definitely can’t hurt your chances of landing the job, but it’s shocking how many candidates don’t take the extra time to put themselves back in the mind of the recruiter.

DON’T: Ghost the employer.

If you’ve gone through the process of a face-to-face interview and realize that the opportunity isn’t the right fit for you, be honest with the recruiter. Just because you don’t want to accept an offer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t let them know. Recruiters would much rather you be honest about not wanting an opportunity than you just not returning any of their calls. And you never know when that recruiter might be able to make a connection for you down the road, so ending things on a positive note is always the way to go.

DO: Treat everyone with respect.

Most of the time when you show up for an interview, you’ll probably be waiting in an area by the reception desk. You should act like you’re in the interview from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave. Don’t just sit in the reception area on your phone, ignoring the receptionist – engage in conversation! Ask them about how long they’ve work there and what they like about their role and the company. The way you treat the receptionist – and everyone in the office – can be taken into consideration when making the decision to hire you or not, so you want to make a good impression on everyone.

There’s no magic formula for getting rids of nerves during an interview, but by following a few simple dos and don’ts, you can at least increase your chances of landing that job.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

How-To Guide: “Do You Have Any Questions for Us?”

Interviewing is usually pretty nerve-wracking for everyone. You’re talking to strangers for the most part about yourself, and that can get real personal real quick.

From the perspective of someone who conducts a lot of face-to-face interviews, there is often one thing that really sets apart great candidates from average ones, and that’s the answer to the question, “do you have any questions for us?”

Towards the end of the interview, after asking all of our questions, we open the floor to the candidate to ask us questions.

The absolute worst thing you can say is that you don’t have any additional questions. That signals to the interviewer that you might not be that invested in the opportunity. We know that is there no way we could have explained everything clearly or given you all the information you need to make a decision. The point of an interview isn’t just for us to fill a spot on our team – it’s just as much about you finding the right company fit.

Unemployment is at a 17 year low right now. Candidates have the power to be picky about where they ultimately take a job. You should be asking clarifying questions to the interviewer to make sure this is a company you could see yourself working for.

And while having some questions is better than none, having strategic questions is even better. Asking about what the typical day looks like is a default question that a lot of people use. It’s not going to set you apart from the competition. And the answer is probably not going to make-or-break your decision to work there.

These are just a few question ideas to get you thinking:

Growth

If you’re looking to build a career somewhere, you want to make sure that the company is doing well and will provide you with growth opportunities.

  • What is the company’s growth plan over the next few years?
  • What are the growth opportunities in the position?
  • When people start in this position, where do they typically go afterwards?

Challenges

Everyone is going to face challenges in any new position. The company is going to face challenges as well. Knowing what those biggest challenges are for both the position and the company can also give you the opportunity explain how you’d be an asset in overcoming those problems.

  • What is the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
  • What do people in this position struggle with the most?

Onboarding Process

If you were to become a new employee, you want to be sure that the company is going to set you up for success. You’re not going to know everything on day 1 to do your job well. Knowing that the company is willing to invest their time in helping you learn is extremely important.

  • What does the company’s training program look like?
  • How long does it take people to be successful and work independently in this role?

Top Performers

Asking questions specifically about the top performers in the role shows that you are already looking ahead and that you want to do what it takes to be one too.

  • What are the attributes of top performers?
  • What’s the #1 thing you look for in job candidates that often makes them a top performer?

Culture

While it’s really important that you like the job itself, getting along with the people you’d be working with is also vital. If you don’t fit in with the office culture, you’re probably going to be miserable at work even if you enjoy what you do.

  • How would you describe the culture here?
  • What is your favorite part of your job?
  • Do you organize out of work events for your employees?

Asking questions of the interviewer is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an easy way to impress the interviewer at the end of the interview and walk away on a high note. Don’t be afraid to ask them hard questions – they just did the same thing to you! Remember that it’s just as much about finding the right company for you as it is about finding the right candidate for them.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding