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10 Things HR Won't Tell You When You Interview

Updated on October 20, 2010

Have you ever went into a job interview and wondered how you should behave during an interview?  There are many things we should be aware of when we interview for a job, we  may fidget, we may be nervous, but we have control over some things during an interview, so let’s tackle those easy, no brainer items we can control. We are completely in control of how we dress, how we look, what we know about the company before we go into the interview. So let’s tackle those objectives first.

1. Dress nicely –  make sure you are freshly showered, shaved, and our hair is neat. You would be surprised at how often people come into an interview smelling less like they forgot to take a shower. For interview days skip the perfume and cologne, you don’t know if the person that is going to interview you has an allergy, the objective is not to rule yourself out.  Don't smoke before you interview, smoke lingers on your clothes, and do not stop off for a meal right before eating.  Don't rule yourself out by how you smell.  

2. Clothes should be pressed and looking their best. If you haven’t touched an iron, do so, if you don’t have an iron, bring a couple of outfits to a dry cleaners and have them press your clothes for you. Interviews aren’t the time to have wrinkled clothes, and be too casual. Dress professionally,pass on the jeans, flip flops, anything with neon, go conservative. 

3. Be on time – Don’t be late, really, this isn't the time to be late.  Leave with enough time, to get lost once or even twice if you have never been where you interview is.   If you need to drive out to where the interview is because you haven’t been there before, do the night/day before. Take the interviewers address, directions, and their phone number with you. Accidents can happen, if you are late due to circumstances beyond your control, call and let someone know the situation.

4. Don’t be too early. Be there 5 to 10 minutes early, any more is discourteous to the interviewer. You may catch someone off guard if you arrive too early, the interviewer has planned time to interview you, arriving 30 minutes too early, leaves a bad impression.  You are wanting to interview, you do not want to look desperate. If you have arrived early, wait in your car, and go over your notes about the company, consider questions that might want to ask you, prepare your "tell me about yourself" answer. 

5. Know the company you are interviewing for, don’t ever walk in not knowing about the company you want to go work for. It is too easy to learn about companies you can search online on their website, about the company. Read their website, note their mission/vision statement, note their CEO, note what business segments they are in. In finance, read their financial statements. Prepare a couple of notes about the company, read recent news stories about the company, think of a question or two you can ask about the company.  Do you know who you are interviewing with? If you do, look up your interviewers on, this way you can see where you may have commonality, you may have worked for the same company, you may have went to the same college, find common ground if possible.

6. Communication is 80% non verbal, watch your body language – sit up straight look interested, lean in to your interviewer slightly, this will make you look interested. . Don’t sit back with your arms crossed looking closed off. Watch your hand gestures, don’t point at your interviewer, it’s rude and unsettling, gestures with palms up makes you look open and trust worthy. Do not scowl at your interviewer, no matter what they say, put on your composed poker face, be calm and collected. If you do fidget consider holding your pen in your hands, so you don't fidget. 

7. Practice the basics; everyone is going to ask you to talk about yourself. When this question is asked tell them about yourself to the extent that it relates to the job, do not volunteer excess information, your interviewer wants to know what you can do for them.  If you are a fireman, say you were a fireman, don’t say that you used to dance professionally for a living, don’t say what you did over the weekend, don’t talk about non-job related functions. This is the time you have to sell yourself, tell them how your skills, and how your enthusiasm would work well with the organization. You could easily eliminate yourself from consideration by volunteering you were hanging out at the tattoo parlor all weekend long.

8. Make the interviewer at ease, your interviewer is just as nervous as you are.  You interviewer may not have had a lot of experience in interviewing previously. Don’t say just “yes” and just “no”, expand when appropriate, working in how you fit, and how your skills will help the organization. You may want to consider some small talk, for example you may want to note their class ring, you may note a picture that they have, and make a light comment. You are likely to be more at ease if you know that you have some commonality, you may want to simply ask where are you from, how long have you been part of this organization.  You may take a moment or two for some small talk. 

9. Bring extra resumes, you never know if someone may want an extra copy. You may want to have one to refer to when you are going over your resume, you can pass out extra copies if needed. Also consider bringing a sheet of accomplishments with you, chances are you may forget a couple of your accomplishments and you want to get across the job you can do. You may also want to pass out the sheet of accomplishments to the interviewer, and let them look over what else you can do.

10. Bring insightful questions – ask about the organization, the culture, ask why did this job opening become created, ask what factors are needed by the candidate to bring a real success to the role. Be enthused; never walk away from an interview without asking questions. Bring 3 or 4 questions with you, failure to ask questions gives the impression you aren’t interested.

Interviewing is a difficult task, chances are, you may be nervous. Relax, there are many things you can do so you can feel at ease when you walk into an interview. Keep in mind you control many areas of the interview.  You control what you say, how you look, and you can be prepared.  Groom, be clean and neat, wear freshly ironed clothes that are appropriate for the position you are interviewing with. Do some homework on the company you want to interview with, look at the website, see what the company really values, if you know who is interviewing you, look them up on LinkedIn, or Google. Make sure the person who is interviewing you is comfortable, answer with complete sentences, and make them feel at ease. Don’t be too early, and definitely do not show up too late, be respectful of their time. Watch your body language, don’t convey you are disinterested, and be engaged. Come with questions; prepare your questions ahead of time. Interviewing is difficult, but going in with good preparation puts you ahead of many others. Pick off and eliminate anything that may put up a barrier between you and the interviewer ahead of time, reviewing this checklist will help you be more prepared for your next interview.


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    • jackofspade profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm a firm believer that 80% of the work is done before the interview. Usually when get a interview it mean you probably in there top choice, so be ready to cover what on your resume, so when they ask specific question about your skills your ready.

      While we are at it, your hub need more formatting. The hub is great and while written but is missing image and bold title for each point of your list. Most user when they see a list want to see what are your 10 points and then did into the specific. just saying !


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