Interview Dos and Don’ts

job interview

A good friend of mine has been conducting interviews this week.  There are a couple of open positions in his firm. This is the second round of panel interviews.  He shared some stories with me that made me remember my own experiences interviewing and being interviewed.  I have written about this before, but some of it bears repeating.

For the interviewee:

Don’t overshare.  It might be okay to share a bit about your medical condition because it takes you away from work.  However, nobody wants to know about your husband leaving you three years ago to upgrade to a younger model.  And how you’re over it now.

Dress for the job you want.  Yes, we all want to be Batman.  But that job is taken.  If you are currently a barmaid but want a job in an office, cover up your “girls”.  The innocent, unsuspecting folks in the building don’t need to see your, ahem, merchandise.

Realize that it’s not just about your skills.  The other people involved in the hiring process will consider how you “gel” with the team.  If you’re an arrogant, uptight but highly qualified individual, you might get passed over.

On the other hand, be upfront about your skills or lack thereof.  Nobody likes unwelcome surprises, like discovering you have never used a computer mouse before or that you think the internet is for sophisticated deep sea fishing.

To thine own self be true.  If you don’t want to work downtown, don’t go to *interviews* that are held in, say, downtown.  You might get the job and have to consider the headache of paid parking or public transportation.

In addition, if you’re not someone who cares about the environment, don’t apply for jobs with “green” companies.  Your heart will not be in it.  You will be found out as you dine out of Styrofoam containers day after day.

For the interviewer:

Don’t monopolize the time.  Ask questions and digest the responses.  The interviewee’s head might start reeling if you rattle off your entire life story and the history of the company during the interview.  Not that I know anything about that.

Don’t oversharePeriod.  Yes, this is on both lists.  Nerves hit both sides of the table, causing one’s mouth to overflow.  No one wants to know how/when/where your children were conceived.  But I digress.

Don’t ask overly personal questions.  My favorite:  “Do you plan to have children?”  Uh.  Objection!

Stay on topic. Remember, you want to be as unbiased as possible.  Finding out your interviewee is also a Seahawks fan is a plus, but shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Consider the whole person.  What’s their personality like?  What are their strengths?  Do they have a sense of humor?  Will they need it?

Obviously, this is a partial list.  I would love to hear what others have come across.


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