8 Simple Rules for a Successful Job Interview

Updated on April 25, 2019
Diane Abramson profile image

Diane has a master's degree in Human Resources Development (HRD) from Villanova University and is a SHRM Certified Practicioner.

As a human resources professional, I cannot tell you how many times I am shocked by what I experience during an in-person interview from a candidate. You would think after years of conducting interviews, I would have seen it all; yet I am constantly amazed. I think it is common sense. Maybe it isn’t?

However, I often pause before becoming too critical and consider that I had a wonderful teacher in high school that led our internship program. He explained the “dos and don’ts.” I also had supportive parents that bought me my first suit and proofread my first resume. How do you learn unless someone first teaches you?

Here is my advice, it’s simple, but I guarantee success if you follow these eight simple rules:

  1. Always over-dress. Dress to impress. Guys should wear dress pants, a button-up shirt, and a tie. If you are applying for a management or higher-level position, wear a suit jacket. Ladies should wear either a dress or skirt that falls below the knees or dress pants. Don’t overdo it with the make-up. My rule of thumb: be the best dressed person in the room.
  2. Do not use profanity during your interview or slang words that not everyone will understand. I cannot tell you how often a candidate will swear during an interview. It is not appropriate. Ever. Pretend your mother, or grandmother is in the room. If you wouldn’t use a term or word in front of your grandmother, please do not say it during an interview.
  3. Have questions prepared. An interview is a two-way street. We want to hire a candidate that wants to work for our company. It is better that you realize that our culture/environment/position isn’t a good fit during the interview phase than three months into your new role. Use your interview as a time to find out more about who we are.
  4. Know about our company. Do some research ahead of time. Look at our website. We will ask you why you want to work for our company. Also, please do not respond with ‘it pays well’ or it is ‘close to home.’ Those are valid reasons, but we want to hear more.
  5. Don’t chew gum. Enough said.
  6. Show up on time. Which means 10 minutes early.
  7. Ask for business cards. If there are multiple people in your interview, ask for business cards. See number 8 for why…
  8. ALWAYS write a thank you note. Please, please, please send a thank you note to the individuals who interviewed you. A handwritten note is best; however, an email is okay too. If you send an email, please keep it professional. Do not use slang. Use the word “you” instead of “u”. And, if your email address is “badkittyxxx,” please create a more professional email address.

Good luck. If you follow these eight simple rules, you will be just fine.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Please tie your shoelaces.

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    © 2019 Diane Abramson

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