The dos and don’ts of job interviews

The dos and don’ts of job interviews

What are the dos and don’ts of job interviews?

No matter how many job interviews you’ve been through in your career, you still need to undertake preparation for each individual interview. Who will interview you? What’s the role? Is it a large corporate company or a government agency? Each interview will have its own unique details, and the more you know, the more likely you are to succeed. Here are some dos and don’ts for the first and second job interview.

Dos and don’ts of the first job interview

Don’t be late

Being punctual exhibits respect and reliability, and is a requirement for most roles and organisations. Being late to your job interview won’t make a great first impression, and will likely leave you flustered and with your confidence shaken. Make sure that any documentation or presentations you need for the interview are prepared in advance, and allow sufficient time to get to your destination. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early, adding extra time in the event of traffic, changed public transport schedules and other delays.

Don’t interrupt the interviewer

While you may be eager to tell the interviewer everything about what makes you the best candidate for the job, avoid interrupting them. Being nervous can also lead you to jump into the conversation earlier than desired. If you do interrupt your interviewer, apologise and insist they carry on. Wait until the interviewer has finished talking to ensure you wholly understand the question or comment and can respond appropriately. Take a deep breath, reset and you’ll be ready to go.

Do be honest

If you’ve been invited for an interview, the organisation is obviously impressed with the experience and skills detailed in your resume and cover letter. In the interview, add detail and real-life examples to what you submitted in your application. There’s no need to exaggerate. Be confident, honest and prepared, and you’re sure to nail the job interview.

Do be mindful of the details

If an interview comes to an abrupt end, don’t be dismayed or draw conclusions too early. Instead, use any remaining time to ask questions about the organisation and the team or department the role is situated within. Thank the interviewer for their time and interest, and state that you’re available to provide additional information should the interviewer need it.

Dos and don’ts of the second job interview

Do prepare for possible questions

You’ve made it to a second interview – congratulations! This indicates you impressed your interviewer, and are edging closer to securing the role. To come out on top in the second interview however, a higher and more specialised level of preparation is required. In addition to asking more about your skills and how they would be applied in the new role, you may be required to complete a written test or technical Q&A session. Use resources and practice tests available online and through your networks to ready yourself for this important second interview. Ensure you are rested and focused.

Do focus on your expertise and experience

During the second job interview, you may be asked questions about the market your role operates within, or an industry-specific scenario to navigate. Draw on your experience and situations to find an innovative solution. Talk through your thinking and rationale, highlighting past successes as you go. This way, even if you provide a different answer to the one your interviewer anticipated, they get a strong sense of your thinking and problem-solving ability.

Don’t go too low or too high with salary talk

During an interview, salary and compensation for the role will inevitably be discussed. Make sure you’ve done research about average salaries for the role and the industry more broadly. Review the market and see if any factors such as change in government or off-shore manufacturing affects the salary in your industry. Also check out the Robert Half Salary Guide. Avoid putting forward a figure that is too low or too high, to ensure you remain competitive.

Don’t be too hasty after the job interview

Don’t ask the interviewer to reveal their decision on the spot, as generally, several other staff members need to be consulted before a final choice is made. Be patient, and only follow up to check the status of the interview if you haven’t heard from the organisation for an extended period of time.

Single round and multi-rounds of job interviews tend to have a lot in common. Research and practice pays off in the long run, and will help you navigate the job interview process with ease and confidence.

Refer to Robert Half’s job interview hub for more job interview advice.