Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Your job search hinges on your job interview. It’s the most important part of your application and unfortunately, it comes at the end of what can be a long process.

Ultimately, understanding what to do and what not to do during an interview is the difference between you succeeding or failing.

If you’re looking for job interview help, we’ve got a full rundown of job interview do’s and don’ts that you can follow below.

Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts – Preparation

Effective preparation is often the key to success and the same is true of a job search. When you’re preparing for a job interview and considering how to get off to a good start, follow these tips: 

Do: Make a checklist of what you’ll need to take to the interview in the week leading up to the day. 

Do: Research the company’s history, recent developments and key statistics. 

Do: Ask the hiring manager about the format of the interview – will it be 1-on-1, group setting etc. 

Do: Get plenty of rest in the days running up to the interview so you’re properly focused.

Do: Have physical copies of application documents  – such as a CV and cover letter – in case something goes wrong with digital versions.

Don’t: Wait until the morning of – or night before – the interview to start collating all of the things you’ll need. Any unexpected challenges will only increase your stress levels and make things harder. 

Don’t: Try to memorise your answers, you’ll sound robotic and struggle if you lose your place. Think about key points you want to get across instead, it’ll sound more natural. 

Don’t: Try to blag answers about the company and their history. If you haven’t done research, it’s better to be upfront and honest – you’ll always have the opportunity to learn more in the interview.

Related: Top Job Interview Tips for Success

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Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts – Interview

Do: Take your time to process the interviewer’s question and form an answer – it’s not a race and you can always take a moment to pause before answering. 

Do: Be professional when you’re talking about any past experiences, even if you had a problem with a  former employer.

Do: Be honest about your work experience – including being ready to talk about potential negatives such as dismissals or redundancy.

Do: Practise your interview technique, either in the mirror or with a friend. You don’t want to memorise answers, just practise answering common job interview questions in a natural and positive way.

Do: Be honest about your skill set – understand that you’ll probably need to demonstrate any knowledge you mention on your CV.

Do: Ask your interviewer questions when the opportunity arises. 

Don’t: Go into unnecessary details. The more you talk, the more likely you’ll say something irrelevant or lose the focus of the interviewer. You want to stay concise, focused and ensure that you’re not rambling as this can lead to nerves getting the better of you. 

Don’t: Forget to listen. While the interview is all about showing yourself in the best possible light, you’ll often find that the interviewer provides ‘hints’ on what they’re looking for – whether intentionally or not. This is a great place to utilise communication skills.

Don’t: Give too short an answer. While you don’t want to ramble, you also don’t want to appear disinterested or ill-prepared. A common fault of many interviewees is simply saying ‘yes’ to an answer and not taking the opportunity to expand with context. Every answer is an opportunity to  show the interviewer a positive about you.

Don’t: Answer vague questions. Some interviewers may word questions in an obtuse way and there’s nothing wrong with asking for clarification rather than giving a poor answer as you try to work out what’s going on.

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Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts: Appearance and Body Language

Do: Plan your outfit well in advance and try it on the night before – you want to make sure you feel comfortable and have one less worry on the morning of the interview. We have an expanded guide if you’re worried about what to wear to an interview. 

Do: Demonstrate positive body language. Maintain eye contact, smile and engage with the interviewer through body language (nodding, avoiding slouching, no hands in pockets) to show you’re interested.

Do: Shake hands with everyone present in the interview. Offer a firm but comfortable handshake. 

Do: Dress appropriately. Even if the culture is ‘relaxed’, you should always dress in a professional manner. You can never be too overdressed, unless you’re considering a tuxedo.

Do: Sit up straight. Whether it’s the case or not, posture is often viewed as an indicator of interest and work ethic. 

Don’t: Be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is. Avoid making off-colour jokes, using slang, swearing or pats on the back.

Don’t: Forget that if someone new joins the interview mid-way through, you should stand up and shake hands, greeting them warmly. 

Don’t: Interrupt the interviewer. Give them time to complete their thoughts and answer in kind. This shows that you’re respectful of them and their time.

Remember, a job interview is what you make of it. If you put in the preparation, adopt the right approach during the interview and focus on painting yourself in the best light, you’ll find success. Not sure if you’ve got the role? Here’s 9 signs you’ll get the job after the interview.

Take a Look at Our Available Jobs

Ready to find a new job? Take a look at the vacancies that we have available across the Channel Islands.