Job interviews are categorically the worst. Talking about yourself without seeming like a braggart, trying not to sweat through your nice outfit, thinking up brilliant answers on the spot… it’s all a lot to handle. Whether you’re new to the job market or think you know it inside and out, everyone could use a few pointers. Here are a few of the most important dos and don’ts to remember before you sit down for that interview.
1. Don’t Come Without An Elevator Pitch
You know the “tell me about yourself” question will come up, so you had better have your elevator pitch ready. Be prepared to quickly summarize the most important things about your job history and why they are relevant to the position in question. Don’t think you can wing it. Don’t get stuck on an experience at your college newspaper. It won’t end well, and you’ll look unprepared.
2. Do Make Sure You Have Insightful Questions For The Interviewer
Just as interviewers tend to open with the item above, you know they’ll wrap up the conversation with that good old “do you have any questions for me?” query. Which is why it’s crucial to have several insightful questions ready to go. You should be able to ask one or two pointed questions that relate to your role in the company or about the position itself. It shows you’ve put thought and time into preparing for the interview, which goes a long way. The company website is a great place to find fodder for these questions, which leads me to my next point…
3. Don’t Skimp On Your Research
Read the entire company’s website. Every page, even the seemingly unimportant ones. Take notes about salient information. Write down the names of important people with whom you might interact. Not having done your research before the interview is a bad look. It will leave you unprepared when asked any number of questions, and many interviewers will expect you to know more than just the talking points of the organization. Being able to reference a recent news or action item is always a big bonus.
4. Do Make Sure The Job Is The Right Fit For You
Check sites like Glassdoor, where employees can leave anonymous reviews of their company, from the interviewing process right down to salary. While this isn’t a foolproof way to make sure you’ll love a job, lots of negative reviews should definitely be a red flag.
Also, make sure to ask the interviewer to describe the company culture and what they specifically like about working there. Remember, finding a job that’s the right fit for both you and the employer is the goal—so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
5. Don’t Wear An Outfit You Hate
Please, please, please do not stuff yourself into a dress that hasn’t fit since the Reagan era just because you think it’s the most professional thing you own. If you feel uncomfortable, it will be obvious and you’ll be distracted from the task at hand.
It’s more than just being superficial. Wearing a power outfit that makes you look good will also make you feel good and, more importantly, confident. Don’t leave your outfit choice until the morning of. Try things on a few days in advance, just in case you need to run out and pick something up.
6. Do Show Up Early
This should go without saying, but it’s poor form to be late for a job interview. If you can’t make it on time for the interview, how do they know you’ll be on time for work every day? This is one instance where the “five minutes early is on time” approach holds true. Do yourself a favor and leave extra-early on the day of your interview to ensure you’ll make it on time and not get flustered in the process.
If you are running late for whatever reason, be sure to let your point person at the company know as soon as humanly possible, in case they want to reschedule.