Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Reading time: 4 Minutes   |   Written August 2019

Do's

Suited and booted

Check the dress code before you go. Many companies are more casual these days, and a suit may not be required for interview. But even if you don’t wear a suit, look professional.

Walk tall

Look confident and stand tall – no slouching please! You should look presentable and professional. Remember you’re being judged all the time, so be polite and kind to everyone you meet from the Receptionist to the CEO!

Deliver a firm handshake

At Jobs50+ we can’t stand a limp handshake! A weak handshake tells the recruiter that you’re not confident and don’t believe in yourself. Also, too strong a handshake can come across as aggressive. Keep it firm, don’t crush their fingers, and smile and retain eye contact as you shake.

Sit up straight

You don’t want to be too stiff, but do try to sit up straight, with your shoulders back. Keep your legs still and lean forward slightly every so often, as it shows the interviewer that you’re listening, but don’t exaggerate this.

The eyes have it!

Keep eye contact. Maintaining eye contact shows the interviewer you’re interested and confident and that you’re following the conversation. It also helps you to build rapport. If you feel uncomfortable, look away for a few seconds or try looking at their nose. Around 10 seconds of good eye contact at a time is a good guideline.

Show your pearly whites

We like to work with people that are friendly and approachable. So smile. Miserable people are seldom employed. You may feel nervous inside, but if you smile you will look more relaxed and more likeable.

Keep those hands under control

It’s fine to be animated and gesticulate with your hands to make a point, in fact it’s been proven to increase the attention of the interviewer, but don’t go too far. Keep your arms uncrossed and your hands away from your face. Crossing your arms looks defensive as you’re blocking the interviewer. If you need something for your hands to do, ask if you can take notes. This will keep your hands occupied and also indicate that you’re paying attention.

Don’t forget to turn your phone off, keep your head up, keep your feet still.

Don'ts

Be overconfident

You need to work hard to get a job, always put in the effort and be the best version of yourself. Try not to come across as arrogant because you likely won’t be offered the job.

Offer a weak handshake

The handshake is a window into your soul! It tells the interviewer a surprising amount about you and your confidence. We all have days when we don’t feel so confident, however save that for another day – because today it’s show-time! A medium firm handshake, mirroring the strength of the other person. If you get it wrong first time, you’ve got one more chance to get it right at the end of the interview as you leave.

Slouch

This screams of ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I can’t be bothered!’ Sit up and pay attention. And keep your arms and legs uncrossed, in a relaxed pose.

Stare

Eye contact is incredibly important. It’s always important to maintain eye contact, but there’s definitely a limit. Don’t make it too intense. There’s a fine line between being attentive and being frightening. Finally, always remember to blink.

Play with your pen/hair

Really think about this one. It seems so obvious, but as with most body language, you often don’t know you’re doing it. Be aware of any bad habits you have before your interview, and keep them in the back of your mind. If you’re not aware of any, try asking a few (good) friends. Just try not to take it personally…

Fidget

Try to avoid moving around too much. Nervously moving your feet or constantly changing position will only make you look awkward and uncomfortable. Whilst it’s important not to look too wooden, fidgeting can be just as bad.

Other things not to do

Chew gum, keep your hands in your pockets, zone out, tap your finger, tap your pen, go in for a hug

OK, so we know that none of these points are particularly new or innovative. However, they still need to be considered.

The old adage that ‘actions speak louder than words’ may seem cliché, but when more than 60% of first impressions are formed by body language, it should definitely be a key part of your interview preparation.

This doesn’t mean you need to practice in front of the mirror, but keeping the above do’s and don’ts in mind before and during your interview will definitely improve the way you present yourself. After all, you might be committing a number of the above body language faux-pas, without even realising it.

The prospective employer already thinks you can do the job on paper. Now’s your chance to show them you can do it person.