Interviewing Tips and Strategies | Smith Hanley Associates


You didn’t get the job offer. Why? Perhaps you did one of the ten no-no’s below. Use this checklist for easy things NOT TO DO on your next interview.

1. Fail to research the company. At a minimum review the backgrounds of the interviewers on LinkedIn BEFORE your interview day. Googling the company or reading the news section of their website is ABSOLUTELY a requirement of successful interviewing.

2. Arrive late. If you don’t know where their office is, or aren’t sure how long it will take you to get there, either budget a lot of extra time or practice the route the weekend before and add time for work-day commuting traffic.

3. Arrive too early. Arriving more than 20 minutes early for your interview is annoying. If you are being careful about being on time and get their too early, have breakfast locally, read in your car, play on your phone, but don’t go into the interview until about 10 minutes before your scheduled start time.

4. Be rude to the receptionist/support staff person. Courteous people are courteous to everyone and they will talk about you to their associates if you aren’t. They have to work with you, too. Winning them over with polite conversation about the traffic or the weather is worth it!

5. Underdress. Attire has become a minefield of choices. If using a recruiter, get their recommendation on whether to wear a suit or shoot for business casual. Even if the choice is business casual, men should wear a sport coat and dress shirt with no tie and women should go with a pantsuit or business dress. Be on the more formal side of business casual for the interview even if the rest of the staff is in khaki’s and a polo. Your formality will be appreciated as a reflection of your serious interest in the position. Too formal might get you eliminated for lack of attention to the culture of the company. It is a fine line.

6. Forget to bring a resume. Even if you know they already have your resume, bring a few extra copies. You never know when someone will be added to your interview schedule, maybe because you are doing so well!

7. Look at your phone. Turn it off, put it in your purse or pocket and don’t even sneak a peak in-between interviews. Even if you are waiting for 10-15 minutes, don’t touch it. Looking at your phone indicates your lack of interest in your current situation, the interview, and gives the company concern that you can’t be away from your phone when you’re working for them either.

8. Slouch in the chair. Does someone look more interested if they are sitting up straight and leaning forward slightly in their chair or slouching, resting their arms on the arm rests and crossing their legs? Sit up straight, look people in the eye and use your posture to express interest in the position.

9. Bring food or drink to the interview. Yes, I know it’s early and you need your coffee, but don’t bring it with you. Drink it before the interview if you must have the pick-me-up. If it is offered as part of the interview process and your interviewer is having coffee, then, yes, go for it. If the interviewer isn’t having coffee, don’t. Don’t chew gum or suck on breath mints either!

10. Complain if your interviewer is late or the schedule gets changed while you are there. You may not want to work for this organization if they don’t treat you with courtesy and concern, but don’t express it while you are on the interview. You can always turn down an offer, but someone who can roll with changes without complaining is a good hire. Stuff happens and acting like your needs come first is not the way to get the job offer.

Want some more help on your job search? Contact the recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates!

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