Career Advice

7 Job Interview Do's & Don'ts

min read
Vera Chan

You have looked for a new career or role and are now onto the next step — the job interview. There are several things you can do as a candidate to increase your chances of success. When it comes to getting your foot in the door, here is how you can impress the hiring manager. To get them to continue to consider your application, you can bear in mind the below pointers.



1. Do Your Research

It pays to show that you have taken the time to understand a company's background, mission, and values. A future employer can tell whether you have put in the effort to doing so. This may come in the form of questions about their recent campaigns. Or it could be something mentioned in their social media. Take a look at the company webpage and their social media accounts for the latest activity.


2. Be Early To The Job Interview

Use this time to take a few deep breaths and get into the zone. Review your notes and history of the company, plus outstanding work or recent awards won. These can act as lead-in phrases that lead to greater talking points, which can help build rapport. You want to make sure your notes are in order, your phone is set to silent and off of vibration mode. Freshen up in the bathroom beforehand and straighten out your outfit to look the part.


3. Learn to Listen

One of the most common pitfalls of a job interview is learning how to take a pause. It is strategic to listen and take your time to answer a question. Do not talk over the interviewer or cut them off halfway. Taking a pause can show that you have put a lot of thought into the answer. Show that you know how to take a considered approach. In comparison to rushing into an answer, it is also a good opportunity for you to think things through. Think before you speak stands true in this instance. Taking a breath can also show that you are calm,  collected, and in control of the job interview. This shows confidence without flaunting ego.


4. Draw Attention to Your Strengths

A job interview is a good opportunity to bring attention to your strengths. Show how you understand the job description and the company. You can do this by highlighting past accomplishments contributing to your work experiences. Do not focus on the success of the project or past case study. Instead, hone in on how this experience will translate into your new role. Talk about how certain strengths make you a good fit for this position and what successes you may be able to bring.


5. Body Language in a Job Interview

Body language is key to how you will be perceived by the hiring manager. Crossed arms indicate a closed-off stance, so be sure you avoid this. Instead, focus on sitting upright, but not rigid. You want to exude calm collectedness in the form of a relaxed position that allows you to easily engage. This means adjusting the chair (if possible), so that you are at a comfortable height to the table. Maintain eye contact and nod to show you are listening. These cues all indicate interest and will help the interviewer know that you are still keen. If you are taking notes, be sure to continue to look up and make eye contact. Don't get bogged down in paper and writing too much.


6. Stay Positive

Concentrate on the highlights of your past positions or work experiences. Why? Because you do not want to show that you have burned any bridges. From a future employer's perspective, they would be rest assured to know that you would not bad mouth. This can show distastefulness and distrust in your ability to take the good from the bad. You want to keep your cards close to your chest when it comes to talking about sensitive topics. As a learning curve, give diplomatic answers. You will save yourself from coming off as petty. A top tip is to talk about a positive aspect and then pivot to talking about relevant skillsets to the role.


7. How to Close a Job Interview

The ending of a job interview is equally as significant as the opening. This is a prime time to continue to show initiation in the follow-up process. A future employer would want to know that you still have a genuine interest in the position. You can thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. A good lead-on question would be "what are the next steps". It shows keenness. A firm handshake is a good attribute and so is eye contact. Be direct but courteous, and do not rush it. Last impressions count.


The Takeaway

The above pointers will set you on the path to success at nailing a job interview. Remember to focus on what you can control at the moment. There is no point stressing in the middle of an interview. Use this time to take a few extra seconds to think about what questions you would like to ask about the role. Building a dialogue is what is important, as you are establishing a relationship. This can last in the memory of a hiring manager who will also most likely have other interviews. Avoid back-and-forth answers and questions to make the dialogue seem more natural.


Have a video interview instead of face-to-face? Here is what you can do.

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