Getting Ready for an Interview: Dos and Don’ts

We hope that these easy tips will help you get your dream job. 

Before the interview DO:

  1. Reality check. Let’s face it – job hunting is quite a stressful and time-consuming process. Focus your efforts only on the jobs that you feel confident doing and want to do. Evaluate your skills and experience and try to find a job that will be suitable for your level. You’re probably going to have to attend a couple of interviews before you find your perfect job, but that is OK – rejection is also an important part of the process, which helps you evaluate yourself. Don’t get demotivated, learn from your experience and think of what can you do better next time. 

  2. Do your research. Get to know the company you are applying to. BUT! don’t just stop at the company’s website, look at their LinkedIN profile, publications, new product ideas, etc. Learn more about their relations with other companies on the market. Check other social media for more insights about the company. You can even look at employee’s LinkedIN profiles – a little bit of legit interest never hurt anyone.

  3. Role play. This might sound a little strange, but try it. Ask your friend or someone you feel comfortable with to ask you typical interview questions. The other person will be able to give you feedback and hopefully it will make you less nervous during the actual interview. Think of the answers to the tricky questions too, for example “What can you bring to the team?” or “What are your weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in X years?”

  4. Let the facts talk. Prepare some relevant examples to describe your strengths to your prospective employer. Think of the position you are applying to and of the qualities they will be looking for. Demonstrate that you have the required skills by examples from your past. Also think of 5-10 success stories you could mention showing your accomplishments and achievements.

  5. Attention to detail.Looks are important, so evaluate the environment of the company you are applying for. If it is strictly corporate environment ensure to follow the appropriate dress code. However, always  look clean, tidy, natural and professional. First impressions are not everything, but they are important. Make sure you feel confident and comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Arrive on time – you can allow yourself to be a little early – something like 5 minutes. Your prospective employer most likely has quite a busy schedule and the entire day is planned. By arriving too early or too late, you can cause some stress to the employer and it will not make a good impression. Also, don’t forget to switch off your mobile device, again to respect the person who is conducting an interview.

During the interview DO:

  1. First impressions. When greeting your employer give a confident handshake and a smile to set the tone of the interview. Make sure to reflect positive body language – this will help you and the interviewer establish a rapport easier.

  2. It’s about YOU. Make sure the employer gets to know you. Try to relate your personal qualities to the ones the company is looking for in an employee. Support your statements with examples from previous experience, speak confidently and positively and make sure to show your enthusiasm for the new role. Asking questions is also a great thing to do during the interview, by doing so you are not only showing your interest, but also getting an insight of the position and duties.

  3. Be honest. When asked why you would like to work at the place show your knowledge about the company, as well as show that the company reflects your values and ambitions. For example: “you provide great opportunities for career development by providing training and courses”, “your company is known for helping graduates build their career”, “there are opportunities for international exchange and travel at your company, and this is something I am interested in”

  4. Tell a story. Not just any story, but your professional work story. Explain key facts about your previous role. Even if that was a volunteering experience, the employer is interested to know what your responsibilities were. This is your opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light with examples of your capabilities. 

  5. The more the merrier. Have a positive outlook for an opportunity. Conduct yourself in a way to show your determination and enthusiasm for a position. Don’t turn down the offer immediately, you want to be in a position to choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.

During the interview DON’T:

  1. Dig deeper. When asked questions about the company and your interest, don’t just quote the lines from their website’s home page, or information that is stated on first page which came up in their search. Show your deeper knowledge of the company’s activities. 

  2. Avoid personal talk. Your employer is looking to find out about your professional qualities, education and to see if you are a good fit for the position. Of course, it is important to be sincere and talk about your personal qualities, but don’t get carried away and share too many examples from personal or family life.

  3. Manners. Don’t be rude or unprofessional. For example, let your interviewer finish the question before you start answering it. Your body language is also important – try not to cross your arms, sit properly and maintain eye contact. Avoid using slang or cursing. 

  4. Confidence not arrogance. More is not always better. Of course, you wouldn’t want to criticise yourself during the interview, but the employer won’t appreciate you praising yourself too much. For example an answer “My main weakness is that I am too hardworking ” is a big NO-NO! You don’t want to sound scripted or insincere, as an experienced recruiter will immediately sense that. 

  5. Elaborate. Don’t give short answers or “it’s in my CV” answer– you are not doing yourself a favor. Employer would like to hear more about your experience, so try to give more insight. If you didn’t understand the question, or feel that there is nothing to tell ask them to clarify what they mean.