Whether you’re being screened by a recruiter or in a second-round interview for your dream job, here are a few do and don’ts to help you prepare and avoid a faux pas.
Do come early. Whether it is an in-person or virtual meeting, you never want to keep interviewer waiting. If it is a virtual interview, make sure that your technology is working, and service is good, then join the call a few minutes early.
Do research on the company. Scroll through the website, read about the company, and pick out a few key points to discuss. Too often we receive feedback from clients that a candidate knew nothing about the company or who they were interviewing with. This is a major turn off for interviewers.
Don’t read your resume word for word when describing your work experience. Most of the time your interviewer will have a copy of your resume in front of them. If you’ve gotten to this stage then they’ve already read through it, so take this time to tell them something more about a specific task or responsibility. Interviewers are looking to see how you expand on key points.
**Tip: If possible, bring a few hard copies of your resume. You may not need them, but it will show that you’re prepared in case they ask or forgot to print a copy!
Do relate your skills and experience back to the job you applied for. If your skill set matches the requirements in the job description, use that to your advantage. Incorporate the same verbs and language as the description to show why you’re the right fit.
Don’t answer a question you don’t understand. It is acceptable to ask for a question to be repeated or clarified, just be sure to do so politely. Often times, interviewers will ask something that catches the candidate off guard; they are trying to see how you react in a situation you didn’t prepare for. Keep your composure and try not to get flustered. Take a moment to form an answer if you need to.
Do keep your attitude positive and professional. A job interview is not just to qualify you but to judge the culture fit as well. Be sure to express your appreciation for the opportunity. We all know how frustrating job searches can be, so avoid expressing any of those negative feelings during your interview, especially regarding past employers. Keep the conversation professional and avoid oversharing about your personal life.
Don’t come to your interview unprepared to explain “red flags.” Almost every candidate has a “red flag,” and more than likely an interviewer will ask about it. Don’t be caught unprepared and don’t try to avoid the question. Be honest about that gap in employment or a missing qualification but try to steer the conversation back toward your strengths.
Do have questions prepared to ask your interviewer. Use this as an opportunity to show your interest in the position, as well as the company. They don’t need to be outside of the box type questions, they just need to show a genuine interest and investment.
Don’t focus your questions on salary and benefits. Yes, these are extremely important aspects of a job search, but only showing an interest in compensation may suggest to an employer that you don’t care about the job itself and are just looking for a better payday. That being said, if you are asked directly about salary, do not avoid the question. This is incredibly frustrating for recruiters and hiring managers. We need to know what your bottom line is in order to connect you with viable opportunities and not waste anyone’s time.
Lastly, keep in mind that it is as much as interview for you as it is for them. The hiring process is a two-way street, so be an active participant and continue confidently toward your next career opportunity!