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Interview Do’s and Dont's

Here's a list we made: know what factors can make or break your next big interview
March 4, 2015
By GradProSkills


  • Be friendly with everyone you meet on the way in
  • Turn off your phone
  • Shake hands firmly
  • Bring copies of any relevant papers (resume, your portfolio, etc.)
  • Remember the names of the hiring team
  • Find out exactly where you’re going beforehand, so you don’t get lost
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
  • Answer the questions you’re asked as best as you can, and ask whether you answered sufficiently clearly if you’re unsure
  • Pause if you need time to think
  • Ask informed, curious, passionate, and/or insightful pre-prepared questions
  • Be positive (or at least diplomatic) about your past jobs - if you’ve had bad experiences work on preparing answers about those situations well in advance 
  • Be curious about the job and knowledgeable about the company
  • Show what you can do for the organization/company rather than what they can do for you 
  • Dress the part – if you can find out what the fashion culture is in the office, great and of course be clean, well put together, and presentable. And wash your hands.
  • Read your audience - interviewers give clues all the time as to whether you’re connecting or losing contact. Noticing the signals like smiles (good), or checking watches (bad), can tell you when to keep going or when to wrap it up. 
  • Ask the person arranging your interview about the plans for the day. Will you be doing a series of interviews? Will there be a panel interview involved? How long should you anticipate being on site? The more you know, the better prepared you'll be.


  • Be late. Never be late. If you’re on time for one thing, make it the job interview. Plan to arrive about 10 minutes early. And if for some reason completely beyond your control you end up running late, do phone the company to let them know.
  • Assume the hiring team remembers your resume
  • Talk incessantly
  • Use poor language, slang, and pause words (such as "like," "uh," and "um").
  • Bring up or discuss personal issues or family problems
  • Throw anyone under the bus (like your old boss)
  • Focus more on the perks than the job itself
  • Be opinion free
  • Stretch the truth or exaggerate 
  • Be clueless about the hiring committee
  • Use body language cues in ways that will make you look nervous, defensive, or unapproachable. So, don’t tap with your fingers, touch your face or neck too much, play with your hair, cross your arms over your chest
  • Discuss salary and benefits too early in the conversation. If you can avoid it, wait until you get the job offer.
  • Though you want to be prepared and practice, don’t memorize word-for-word or over-rehearse your answers
  • Beg for the job, or show signs of desperation
  • Wear perfume/strong scents
  • Dress or behave too casually
  • Name drop. Or worse, name drop people you don’t even know.
  • Chew gum
  • Show up smelling of smoke
  • Drink during the interview, even if the interviewer is drinking

    *Tips come from Glassdoor, The Muse, Idealist Careers, Forbes, Workopolis, The Huffington Post, and The Globe and Mail
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