Job Interview Tips Everyone Should Know
- Be on time! Arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled interview time, but don’t be too early. Showing up too early can inconvenience the receptionist, interviewer, and other employees. If you do arrive more than 15 minutes early, wait in your car or outside.
- Dress appropriately. Depending on the job you’re a candidate for, the wardrobe can vary, but business casual is often the safest choice. A button-down, collared shirt, dress pants, or slacks (or skirt) are a safe choice. For creative jobs, you can afford to be a little more open, with a pop of color on your shoes, belt, or scarf.
- Be prepared. Have two copies of your resume with you. One for yourself and one for your interviewer. (People get busy at work and it is not uncommon for an interviewer to forget to bring your printed resume.) It’s also good to bring a pen and notebook for notes. This shows that you’re eager and interested in the job details. Also prepare yourself for common questions such as “describe your dream job,” or “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Think through these in advance, so you’re not caught off guard during an interview.
- Ask the right questions. Ask about the company culture, what your core job responsibility is, and what the day to day role looks like. Ask how you can best contribute to their company’s goals.
- Avoid the wrong questions. Don’t ask too many questions about vacation time and pay rate. These are things that will be negotiated after you are offered the job. (Pay expectation is often on the company’s job application, and your interviewer should be aware of your pay needs.)
- Relax and be yourself. Every interviewer is looking for something different in a job candidate. Some interviewers may be looking for an energetic and bubbly personality to fill the role, while others may look for someone who is reserved and quiet. It’s best to make the most genuine connection that you can. You’re more likely to land a job that is fitting to your needs if you are your authentic self during an interview.
- Make sure you know what to expect of your interviewer, and what is legal. There are things he or she SHOULD NOT ask you.
You Should Never Get the Following Questions in an Interview (It’s Unlawful!):
- Have you ever been arrested?
- What is your religion? Where and/or when do you worship? Do you celebrate religious holidays?
- Are you a citizen of the US? It seems that you have an accent, where are you from?
- When were you born? What year did you graduate from high school or college? How old are you?
- Do you have a disability that can affect your job performance? (This includes specific questions pertaining to the former number of sick days, workers’ compensation claims, mental health diagnoses, or other pre-existing health conditions, including that of family history)
- Do you use drugs, alcohol, or smoke?
- Do you belong to a union or do you have an interest in joining one?
- Are you willing to take a polygraph test? (You cannot be denied employment, disciplined, or fired for refusing to take a polygraph test)
- Are you pregnant or do you plan to become pregnant, foster, or adopt a child?
- What does your husband or wife do? Or do you have a spouse or significant other?
Legal Interview Questions Are:
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony or crime other than a traffic violation?
- Do your religious practices prohibit you from working on weekends (ask only if weekend work is required of the position)
- Are you legally authorized to work in the US?
- Do you speak any other languages? (asked only if relevant to the position)
- Are you able to put in the long hours and a significant amount of travel this job requires?
- Are you willing and able to relocate, if the opportunity arises?