Interview Do's and Don'ts

Updated: September 9, 2020

Do …

  • Arrive a little bit early. Getting to your interview 5–10 minutes early will demonstrate your punctuality and reliability from day zero—and allow you time to decompress before the big event.
  • Come prepared, with additional copies of your resume, cover letter, and work samples. Before the interview, practice your responses to common interview questions, know each section of your resume by heart, and draft a list of informed questions to ask your interviewer.
  • Dress for success. Some jobs require a three-piece suit; others are fine with business casual. Do your research beforehand, and if in doubt, dress on the formal side. You want the interviewer to know that you put in the effort and are serious about getting the job.
  • Research the company. Prior to the interview, take the time to learn the ins and outs of the organization, the role, and, if possible, the interviewer.
  • Listen to the interviewer. Answering interview questions is great, but listening carefully and critically is also crucial. Engage with the interviewer, don’t fidget or interrupt, and ask relevant questions at the end of the interview.


Don’t …

  • Talk too much. Stay on topic and keep your responses concise, supporting your answers with details and examples whenever possible.
  • Play hard to get. Jobs are different than dating, and you need to show your enthusiasm and passion for the role each step of the way. If you shy away, so will your potential employer.
  • Speak negatively of past employers. Even if a previous job was a nightmare, focus on the positive. Don’t give anyone an excuse to think you might not work well with others.
  • Answer “No” when asked, “Do you have any questions?” An interview is a two-way street; the interviewer wants to see if you’re a great fit for the job, and you want to find out if this job is a great fit for you. Be prepared with thoughtful, informed questions that will tell you what you need to know.
  • Ask questions about vacation days or salary. An interview is a big step in the job search process, but you should save any talk of money or benefits for when you actually have an offer.