Job interviews are intimidating, even if you’re an experienced professional. However, if you’ve never been subject to an interview before, it can be downright terrifying.

Don’t worry, though: we’ve got the cheat codes!

Whether you’re aiming for a part-time gig, internship, or volunteer position, these top 10 “do’s” and “don’ts” will guide you through the interview level with flying colors. 

Top 5 “Do’s”

Let’s start off with a few things that we strongly recommend you do before walking in for your interview:

1. Do Your Research (Be a Good Detective 🕵️‍♂️)

Showing off your knowledge about a company and what they do proves that you care, and are dedicated to doing a good job.

Interviewing for a bookstore, for example? Know some popular authors, genres, and what makes this store special. Mentioning that you love their community reading programs will impress them!

Pro Tip: Check their website, social media, and customer reviews for inside info.

2. Dress the Part (Be a Fashion Star 🌟)

Dressing appropriately shows you understand the company’s culture.

Going with traditional business attire isn’t always the right move. If you’re applying for a lifeguard position, for instance, a business suit might be overkill. Neat, casual attire will do.

Pro Tip: When in doubt, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

3. Ask Thoughtful Questions (Be a Savvy Journalist 🎙️)

ASking questions about the job and the company shows that you’re engaged and thinking about the future. Asking “how does this role contribute to the company’s overall goals?” shows you’re thinking big-picture.

Interviewers will often ask you “do you have any questions for me?” This is something they often do to gauge how interested you really are. You don’t want to respond with “no.”

Pro Tip: Prepare 3-4 questions beforehand to calm your nerves and keep the conversation flowing.

4. Follow Up (Be an Interested Prospect 👋)

Sending a thank-you note sets you apart from other candidates. If can be as simple as a short email; any follow up after your interview will leave a positive impression in the interviewer’s mind.

You can try mentioning something specific from the interview. For instance, a shared interest that came up in conversation, or something you learned about the role.

Pro Tip: Send it within 24 hours while the interview is still fresh.

5. Mind Your Body Language (Be Friendly and Confident😃)

Good body language conveys confidence. A firm handshake and a smile says “Yes.” Crossing your arms and avoiding eye contact, however, shouts “No.”

In an interview setting, you want to convey confidence, openness, and a friendly attitude. Make sure that your body language is sending the right message.

Pro Tip: Practice your posture and expressions with a friend or in front of a mirror.

Top 5 “Don’ts”

So, now that we’ve talked about a few things that you should do in your first interview, let’s talk about a few things that you should definitely avoid.

1. Be Late (Don’t Be a Tardy Tina!🕔)

If you’re not on time for the interview, it communicates two things to the interviewer. First, that you don’t respect them enough to value their time. Second, that you won’t be a reliable employee.

We recommend that you aim to arrive 15-20 minutes early. Use the extra time to visit the restroom, relax, and calm your nerves. If something comes up and you’re unavoidably going to be late, you should call your interviewer, apologize, and briefly explain the situation. In many cases, they’ll be understanding as long as you let them know.

Pro Tip: Check traffic, weather, and have a backup travel plan.

2. Trash Talk (Don’t Be a Gossip 🗣️)

Negativity reflects poorly on you. You want to make a good impression, so starting off my bad-mouthing others is definitely not a good option.

When talking about your past experiences, for example, instead of blaming others, explain how you’ve grown or what you’re looking for in a new role.

Pro Tip: Turn negatives into positives by focusing on what you learned, rather than what happened to you.

3. Speak Like a Robot (Don’t Be Dull🤖)

Authenticity helps you connect with the interviewer. So, use your natural voice, but avoid too much slang or overly complex words.

It can be a hard balance to strike. But, you want to make sure that you’re coming across as friendly and approachable, without being too casual.

Pro Tip: Record yourself talking. Try to catch and eliminate filler words like “uh” and “um.”

4. Dive into Personal Stuff (Don’t Over-Share🎒)

It’s fine to talk about yourself and your experiences. However, make sure you’re staying focused on the job and your qualifications, and that you’re keeping it relevant.

Sharing that you broke a personal record in a video game is cool. Maybe not relevant, though. By oversharing, you can end up making the interviewer uncomfortable.

Pro Tip: Prepare stories that highlight your skills related to the job.

5. Act Bored (Don’t Seem Uninterested😴)

You want to show excitement for the opportunity. If you appear bored or uninterested, then the interviewer can reasonably assume that’s the same attitude you’ll bring to the job.

Think about it, and speak passionately about why you want the job. If you can channel that passion, then the interviewer will notice your eyes light up.

Pro Tip: Consider the job an exciting new adventure, not just a way to make money.

Go Get ‘Em!

Unlocking the achievement of a successful job interview might seem tough. But, with these do’s and don’ts, you’ve got the ultimate guide. Preparation, positivity, professionalism, and authenticity are your keys to victory.

Like studying for an exam, the more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel. So go out there, be yourself, and conquer that interview. Your dream job is waiting just on the other side! 🏆