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How To Conduct Yourself During An Interview

The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:

From: Lorraine Russo

Not only is it important to know what you are going to say during an interview, it is equally important to know how you are being perceived and judged by the people interviewing you.

Say What?

Practice your diction. For example, when using words with “ing” in them, clearly pronounce each letter. Do not say, “I was goin’ to school...”. Doing so makes you sound uneducated, no matter how smart you are. Above all else, interviewers are looking for candidates with strong communication skills.

Keep Smiling :-)

Interviewers want to hire people that they like and feel will fit well into their department. (Believe it or not, personality is one of the most critical--and subjective--evaluation criteria used by interviewers.)

And, keep in mind that the same people interviewing you are the ones who will most likely manage you, so they do not want to hire an employee they feel could eventually cause problems. A smiling, good-natured candidate gets hired over a sour-faced, complaining one.

If you ever had a problem with a supervisor, co-worker, or an employer in general, NEVER give in to the temptation to say anything that can be perceived as negative--no matter how justified you may feel in doing so. I will guarantee you that you will be perceived as a negative, problem-causing person. Of course, one of the questions you might be asked is what your supervisor will say about you. Be prepared for this, because savvy interviewers (and reference checkers) will ask your supervisor for comments. (As a refresher, re-read this post on interview questions and how to answer them.)

Be On Time!

In addition, interviewers do not like it when people arrive late or early for an interview. If you are running late, call! People always appreciate your courtesy. Use your good judgment here: if you overslept, consider a reasonable white lie, such as traffic, to explain your lateness.

You've Arrived at the Interview--Now What?

When you first walk in the door, the interviewer immediately begins to form an opinion of you. This process begins during the thirty seconds it takes for introductions and the walk to the interviewer’s office.

Interviewers like to be greeted by name along with a firm handshake, plenty of eye contact, and a smile. These are not pet peeves; these are good social skills. You will immediately be judged by how you are dressed, groomed, and your ability to handle yourself with new people.

Always complete the entire employment application. Do not write “Please refer to resume” when completing certain fields in the application, as doing so may lead the interviewer to think that you are a person who likes to take short cuts and cannot or will not follow directions.

The fields on the application are there for a valid reason: the company may have a legal obligation to record and report your application to a state or Federal agency. Completing the application in its entirety ensures that the company has the same information on all applicants and that each applicant is treated fairly and consistently. Also, many applications have a release statement regarding background checks or employment references that permits the company to verify any information contained in both the application and your resume.

Interviewers do not like long-winded answers, which is why it is vitally important that you practice your responses. If you do not practice, you will tend to ramble and begin talking in cricles. This will turn off any interviewer, and you will be viewed as unprepared. If your answer is incomplete or needs refinement, your interviewer will ask you a follow-up question. And remember, because you are a guest in this situation, allow the interviewer to guide the interview.

Ask Pertinent Questions

Unless you need to clarify a question or statement made by the interviewer, do not ask questions until you are invited to do so. Many times, the interviewer saves time in the interview for questions from the applicant. When you are asked, this is the time to ask questions. Do not bombard the interviewer with questions during the interview. Keep any questions you may have simple and concise.

Focus your questions on the job or the company. For example, you might ask about specific job responsibilities, the reporting structure, how things get done, or plans for the a particular process. If you did your homework before the interview, you will have plenty of questions to ask about the job and company.

NOTE: If you ask what the company does, the interviewer will know that you are looking for just any job, not the one for which you are interviewing. Asking this question will just about guarantee that you will not get hired.

There are some questions that interviewers do not want to hear during the first interview, including questions about vacation, sick time, and other days off—these type of questions are strictly taboo during a first interview. In fact, by asking these questions, you are actually asking what the employer is going to do for you. Keep in mind the purpose of the interview is to determine what you are going to do for the company.

Asking about time off at this stage will lead the interviewer to think that you are overly-concerned with time off (rather than working). If there is mutual interest, the interviewer will go over these benefits with you in greater detail later on. It is more important to first establish mutual interest, then worry about time off when it is appropriate.

As curious as you may be, do not ask about salary. Although the interviewer is just as concerned about salary as you are, you do not want to give the impression that salary is your only concern. While salary is important to both you and the interviewer, wait until the interviewer brings up the subject to discuss it.

The Interview is Over--Now What?

Before you leave, you'll want to do a few things.

  • Get your interviewer's business card.
  • Thank him or her for their time and state how much you enjoyed discussing the position.
  • Ask about the next steps--will you be meeting with anyone else? When will a decision be made?

The next day, send an email to follow-up and again express your appreciation. Highlight pertinent aspects of the interview and reinforce why you are the best choice for the position. Sample letters can be found here.


Remember the A-B-C acronym: Always Be Closing! Good salespeople aren't afraid to ask for a prospect's business, so don't shy away from asking for the job. Do your best to close the sale: you are selling yourself. You want this prospect to buy from you!

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


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