Interviewing "Must DOs and Please DON'Ts"

In my experience over the last fifteen years in the IT consulting industry, I have seen and heard all the right things and the wrong things people do when interviewing for a new position.  In this article I have pulled together a handy list of the "Must Do" and the "Please Don't" things to help you land the position you are going after.    

Interview "Must DO's" 
  • Dress appropriately for the client. Always dress professionally, even if you know they work in a casual environment. First impressions are lasting impressions. This will help show you are taking the interview seriously. And if you have on a dark suite, wear dark socks!
  • Know where you are going and arrive early. You should know the exact time and location of your interview.  Know how long it will take to get there, find a restroom to freshen up. Back to the first point, if you smell food and there is no restaurant around it is probably you, so give yourself a shot of something that smells nice.
  • Bring a copy of the same resume that the manager/client has been sent.  If you added something new, it is not a good sign of your credibility.  You can always bring it up during the interview.
  • Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
  • Listen first.  Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
  • Always maintain good eye contact during the interview.  If you keep your head down or roll your eyes it is a sign that you are not interested.
  • Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching. Try mimicking the interviewer.
  • Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible. Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question. Answering a question that was not asked is a sign that you are not a team player.
  • Be honest and be yourself.  Dishonesty gets discovered and you will have no job offers. You want a good match between yourself and your employer. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will both be unhappy.
  • Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
  • Always exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  • Have intelligent and business related questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask questions that you did not find answered in your research.
  • Make sure you understand the employer's next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Always ask and know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
  • When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
Interview "Please DON'T"
  • Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
  • Don't make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  • Don't lie on the application, resume or answers to interview questions.
  • Don't treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the organization and could come back to hurt you on the next interview.  Remember people talk.
  • Don't give the impression that you are only interested in an organization because of its geographic location.
  • Don't give the impression you are only interested in salary; don't ask about salary and benefits until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.
  • Don't act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment even if you are.  That may cost you money or put you in a position that you can never get out of.
  • Don't make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in.  Tell them!
  • Don't be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared looks foolish. 
  • A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview. 
  • Don't chew gum or smell like smoke. 
  • Don't allow your cell phone to sound during the interview. (If it does, apologize quickly and ignore it.) Please, do not take the cell phone call.
These tips are just some basic steps you should take when you are interviewing.  I will have more business tips to share as well as technical training.  

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome." Samuel Johnson

About the Author

Doug Wagner is a Senior Technical Sales, Marketing and Recruiting professional with over 15 years of industry experience.  Currently building the Adapt Technical Group initiatives in developing and implementing strategies for marketing and hiring employees and partners with a technical background. For more details on our company please go to

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