Interviewing for the Inexperienced, Part 3

Did your mom ever tell you not to “judge a book by its cover?” That is all well and good, but the unfortunate truth is that hiring managers are quick to judge. (Sorry, Mom!) Even though the average interview lasts 40 minutes, 33% of employers know if they are going to hire you in the first 90 seconds.

I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but here is a list of interview don’ts.

  • Do not bring a coffee. This is way too casual.
  • Do not shake hands limply. Seriously it is just embarrassing. Take some times to practice shaking hands with a friend until you are confident. (While we are talking about it, please do not crush my hand either. I get it. You’re confident.)
  • Do not be negative. Sure, you hate your micro-managing boss. Just keep that to yourself.
  • Do not make excuses. My big pet peeve is when I ask a recently graduated student why they chose to approach a project a certain way and they tell me it is because the teacher said they had to do it. Stand behind your work or do not share it.
  • Do not ask how much they plan to pay you. Always wait for an offer to ask about money. First you have to sell them on how great you are.
  • Do not be a know it all. We hated them in grade school and we hate them now. Find a balance between confident and humble.
  • Do not dress too casually. I am just going to say it- jeans are not a good choice. Do your homework. Find out what people who work there wear and dress up a smidge fancier than that!
  • The number one thing not to do: Do not spend all your time thinking about what you are going to say instead of listening.

Let’s end on something a little more positive. Here is a list of must do’s.

  • Get there early. Give yourself plenty of time to demolish your phone’s battery using GPS to find the place, stop at a gas station to buy a charger, and then get past security.
  • Turn off your phone. Then leave it in your pocket. Please do not put it on the table.
  • Bring hard copies of your resume. Use some fancy paper while you are at it. Oh, and spell check it!
  • Be super polite to everyone. You never know who is watching or who has influence over the hiring manager. Walk out of that place with everyone rooting for you.
  • Make eye contact. People like to think they can tell your character by your eyes. They can’t of course, but they like to think so.
  • Send a thank you card. Email is nice, but class it up a little and send a hand written snail mail card the same day.

We hope you enjoyed our 3-part series on “Interviewing for the Inexperienced”:/articles/interviewing-for-the-inexperienced and that you have a few key takeaways to help you feel more confident and prepared for your next job interview.

If you have an interview coming up soon or recently went through the interviewing process, we’d love to hear about your experience. Would you be willing to share it with us?