How to Make the Best of Your Interview

by Tim Pate

In light of the popularity of our post, Interview Attire: Dos and Don’ts, we have decided to follow up with more interview advice. In this post, we will discuss the actual interview process and highlight a few things an interviewee should do as well as some things to avoid.

Before the Interview

Do some background research on the company for which you are interviewing. Make sure you know enough about the company that you can ask intelligent questions during the interview. Furthermore, go online and research some common interview questions.¬†Don’t show up unprepared and hope to spontaneously generate informed answers to interviewer questions.

Do ask your interviewers what is the proper dress attire for the interview. Play it safe and assume that business formal is expected, but be aware that some companies aim for a more casual atmosphere and may ask that you don’t dress up.

Do give yourself extra time to arrive at the interview; be punctual. Anticipate delays and detours that could slow your route to the interview location. However, when you arrive early, don’t interrupt the person or people who will be interviewing you. Wait patiently for your scheduled interview time.

During the Interview

Do know the key points about yourself that you think best demonstrate why you should get the position. Use the interviewer’s questions as a springboard for giving examples of your competency and credentials. Make sure you don’t ramble or get too chatty, but be prepared with a few stories of yourself that you can relate to interviewer questions. Furthermore, don’t wait for interviewers to draw you out. Elaborate on points to prove that you are informed and deserving of the job.

Do pay attention to body language. The way you present yourself will say a lot about your personality to your potential employers. Be polite and professional, but don’t forget to smile and show that you’re excited about the position. Remember to also sit up straight and to be reasonably expressive with hand gestures.

Do ask insightful questions. Show that you are genuinely interested in the position with questions such as, “How will my role impact your position or the company as a whole?” or “What is the atmosphere around the office?” Pay attention to the answers and interact accordingly with interviewers.

After the Interview

HandshakeDo thank interviewers for their time and consideration. Give a firm handshake and tell interviewers that you look forward to hearing from them.

Always do a follow-up. Many employers appreciate a hand-written letter thanking them for the chance to interview, but at the very least send interviewers a thank-you email to show your appreciation. Even if you have decided that the position is one in which you are not overly interested, still send a thank-you note. You never know – you may one day still work alongside that person. Don’t burn bridges just because you aren’t interested in the position.


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