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Job Interview-Do's

DO know the type of job interview you will encounter. Ask, if the information is not volunteered by the person setting up the interview. (See Types of Interviews for Job-Seekers.)

DO ask how long the interview(s) is/are expected to take so you can know how it will impact the rest of your day.

DO ask for the street address of the interview location (and, if appropriate, the floor of a building, and/or office number). Also, inquire about parking and/or public transportation, if appropriate.

Prep for the interview well ahead of time:

If you have a few days before the interview, DO take a practice run to the interview location, preferably at the same time you would be traveling on the day of the actual interview. Be sure you know exactly where the employer’s location is and how long it takes to get there, where to park your car or get off public transportation, etc.

DO demonstrate your interest in the job—and protect yourself—by doing research on the employer, their products and/or services, their competitors, their reputation, and their financial status (you don’t want to be the last person hired before the layoffs begin). Search LinkedIn, and search Google (using the News filter) to discover as much as you can about the organization, its management, and even their competitors. (See our Guide to Researching Companies.)

DO prepare to ask intelligent questions about the job, the employer, or the industry. Having no questions to ask shows a lack of interest and/or preparation. Both are interview killers!

DO practice answering the most common job interview questions, with a focus on answers customized for this employer and this job. Keep in mind that the employer is most interested in how hiring you will benefit them.

DO dress the part—for the job, the company, and the industry—and err on the side of caution if you’re unsure of how to dress (i.e., dress more formally than casually). If you’re not sure what to wear, consider reading our article When Job-Hunting: Dress for Success. Make a great impression at the interview:

DO plan to arrive about 10 to 15 minutes early. A late arrival for a job interview is never excusable. If you are running late, DO phone the employer to let them know. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, wait until 10 minutes before the interview to present yourself to the employer.

DO turn off or mute your cellphone, and put it out of sight (unless you must use it to demonstrate a job-related skill or accomplishment).

DO be sure to greet the receptionist or assistant and other staff members with courtesy and respect.

If presented with a job application, DO fill it out neatly, completely, and accurately. Keep it “in sync” with both your LinkedIn profile and resume because they will probably be compared to ensure consistency.

DO bring a notepad, in case you need to jot down anything of interest regarding the job. Also bring a copy of the job description, extra resumes, and your personal business cards. If you have a job skills portfolio, bring that with you, too.

DO shake hands firmly, make eye contact, and smile when you are introduced to someone. Avoid having a limp, sweaty, or clammy handshake!

DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. And DO remember body language and posture: sit upright with your shoulders back. No slouching!

DO exchange business cards with each person who interviews you, or at least get their business cards (if you don’t have your own).

DO maintain eye contact with your interviewer(s), and show enthusiasm in the position and the company at all times.

DO avoid using poor grammar, bad language, slang, and pause words (such as “like,” “uh,” and “um”).

When you are answering questions, DO focus on what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you. Stress your achievements and accomplishments, particularly those related to the requirements of the job, and mention what you learned in your research about their products/services, competitors, and the industry.

DO ask your questions to determine if the company will be a good place for you to work, and if the job will be a good fit for you. Ask your questions throughout the interview, as appropriate, unless you are instructed to hold your questions until the end.

DO your best to dodge the “salary requirement” question, if asked. Respond that you are sure the salary will be appropriate for the job (even if you aren’t sure), and that you’d like to learn more about the job before discussing salary

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