10 Things “Never To Do” in an Interview

  1. Never interrupt. Even though you may have a great point, if you interrupt you have invaded their dialog, and you just sent a message that what they have to say to you is not important. It is a red flag regarding your listening skills and your people skills.
  2. Never be late to an interview. Map out the route that you will be taking. If you have time, drive out to the location prior to the interview date. Always be 15 minutes early. It also gives you a chance to unwind and relax.
  3. Never ramble. That means do not talk on and on in the details. Speak in tiers. Give a brief description and if the interviewer wants more detail they will ask you for it. Practice at home. Some people never learn this. For the thorough, detail oriented people, it takes focus and discipline.
  4. Never under dress. The only way you will be overdressed is if you put on a tux or a formal gown (Including Friday dress casual). Put on a conservative business suit. They may say to you, “You did not need to dress up.”, but they are still impressed that you presented yourself professionally. Shine your shoes. If your ties are outdated, go buy a new one. Also avoid wearing strongly scented perfume/cologne.
  5. Never go in without preparing. First of all, as a perspective, get rid of the word “interview”. Start thinking in terms of a “Presentation”. You are about to present you! Take some time to prepare your presentation. It takes an effort. Always take more than one copy of your resume. If you have a well written reference letter from a past/present employer take a copy with you. Always take a blank note pad. Take a pertinent pre-written list of questions.
  6. Never bring up money. Do not be the one to bring up compensation, or benefits questions. You will send the wrong message. Let them bring it up. Keep in mind, they are hoping that you are intrigued by their company and the projects and that you are passionate about the work. Compensation dialog will happen in due time without you raising a red flag.
  7. Never sit at the head of a table. Find a seat near the head but on the side of the table. Also do not sit on the side where the interviewer while looking at you will have glare coming through a window. It is even considered good etiquette to ask the admin,  Is there a preference regarding where I sit at the table?
  8. Never fudge an answer. Do not try to answer a question that you clearly do not have the knowledge to answer. If you try to fudge your way through, it usually comes around to bite you bitterly. The smart thing to do, is to ask, How essential is that skill/knowledge/experience to attaining this position?  Even if they say it is essential, tell them that you do not currently have that exposure, but you would be interested in adding it to you tool bag and even boning up prior to your start date. You at least have an opportunity to offset the lack of exposure with something positive in the same vein.
  9. Never go into an interview with your cell phone on. If you forget to turn it off and it rings….Please, please do not even consider excusing yourself to take the call. Simply, apologize for the interruption, turn it off immediately and let the caller leave you a message. Do not answer the call. Even if the interviewer says, “Go ahead and answer it”, it is unprofessional to answer the call.
  10. Never leave any interview without a soft close or confirmation. For example:  When you sense that you are at the end of the interview, Ask the interviewer, So far, is there anything at all about my background or experience that would prevent me from attaining this position?  Or ask, Do you see me as a candidate for this position? Or state, I am very excited about ­­­­the Company and this position. Do you believe I will be moving on to the next step?

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