Important Interview Do’s and Don’ts for Jobseekers
By Jennifer Herrity
Updated August 11, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019
Updated August 11, 2022
Published October 7, 2019
Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.
Related: Interviewing: Tips for Before, During and After a Job Interview
Learn the steps to take before, during and after an interview to improve your chances of getting the job.
Performing well in an interview can increase your chance of receiving a job offer. Knowing what to do and what not to do can be the difference between receiving a job offer and losing an opportunity. Hiring managers and committees can tell when you are well-prepared for an interview.
In this article, we offer tips that will help you know what to expect during job interviews and how to impress potential employers.
When preparing for your interview and considering all the aspects where your behavior can affect your chances of receiving a job offer, consider these interview tips:
Do: prepare for the interview no later than the night before.
Do: make a checklist of what you’ll need to take with you.
Do: ensure you have directions to the interview site and time out how long it will take you to get there.
Do: choose your interview outfit in advance and make sure it is clean and ironed, if necessary.
Do: get plenty of rest the night before to ensure you are alert and focused.
Do: research the company’s history, mission and recent developments.
Do: outline your answers to common interview questions.
Do: print out at least five hard copies of your resume in case your interviewers don’t have their own.
Do: know the format of your interview and ask the hiring manager beforehand, so you can prepare.
Don’t: wait until the morning of an interview to gather your materials. Unexpected difficulties could easily make you late for your interview, which could impact the hiring manager’s first impression of you.
Don’t: be late. You should plan enough time to arrive at the interview location at least 10 minutes early.
Don’t: try to memorize your answers to interview questions. Instead, remember the key points you want to convey.
Appearance and demeanor
Here are several tips for dressing professionally and appearing confident in an interview:
Do: present a tidy and confident appearance.
Do: wear a simple, comfortable outfit that allows you and the hiring manager to remain focused on the interview.
Do: sit up straight with your shoulders back to display confidence.
Do: maintain eye contact and smile let the interviewer know you’re interested in the conversation.
Don’t: wear bold clothing or strong perfume, as they can be distracting.
Don’t: fidget or make nervous movements with your hands.
Don’t: dress down or casually in an effort to fit with the culture. It’s always better to dress more professionally than not professional enough.
Don’t: cross your arms or use body language that could make you seem closed off.
Here are some tips to help be prepared and responses ready for an interviewer's questions:
Do: prepare for typical interview questions by practicing your answers.
Do: practice in front of a mirror will help you be more aware of your facial expressions and body language, both of which are very important for a successful interview.
Do: ask a trusted friend or colleague to act as your interviewer. They should be able to offer you constructive feedback about your answers.
Do: smile as you listen to the interviewer’s questions.
Do: take your time to process their questions before responding. If you need more time to think it through, say, “That’s a great question. Let me consider that for a minute.”
Do: highlight the skills and experience you have to offer that make you a great fit for the position. If applicable, try to work examples of these into your answers to most of their questions.
Do: always answer with a positive and professional demeanor. If the interviewer asks you about your experience with a former employer or why you want to leave your current position, it’s important to offer positive explanations. Be polite and professional when talking about past positions.
Do: be honest about all aspects of your employment history. For example, if you have gaps in your employment or experienced a layoff or dismissal, be ready to discuss why and how you have used this experience to grow.
Don’t: offer unnecessary details. The interviewer wants to get to know you, but sharing long stories or irrelevant information can distract from your qualifications. Offer concise answers that relate to the role and company.
Don’t: ramble. Preparing ahead of time what details to include in your answers should help you avoid extra language and info that could occur when you’re nervous.
Don’t: forget to listen and stay focused on the information your interviewer is providing you, and use this information to answer their questions more specifically.
Don’t: interrupt your interviewer when you have a question or need clarification but do wait for a pause in the conversation to ask short questions. Asking questions specific to what they are saying or asking of you is important to show that you understand and are engaged in the conversation.
Questions for the interviewer
An interviewer shouldn't be the only one asking questions in an interview. Here are some tips to help you ask your own questions:
Do: ask questions about the company. Coming prepared with your own questions shows you’re interested in the company and you performed research before the interview.
Do: ask questions that are well-informed and specific to the information that your interviewer has presented to you.
Do: take notes when they answer your questions, as it shows that you are interested in the answers and want to review the conversation later.
Don’t: come unprepared. Even if you do not have questions after researching the company beforehand, you should have noted questions during the interview. Having questions shows that you’re interested in the company and what they do.
Don’t: ask simple questions. Your questions should encourage the interviewer to discuss the functions of the position for which you are applying. For example, you could ask questions about how reporting works or which departments you might work with. You can also ask about the interviewer’s role and their favorite part about working there.
Don’t: ask about salary in your interview. The interviewer may ask what your salary expectations are—in which case, you can offer a range you are comfortable with—however, asking about salary prematurely may make you seem like you are interviewing with them solely based on salary.
Related: Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More
In this video, we dissect an entire job interview from start to finish. We analyze everything from common interview questions to etiquette and how to follow up.
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