Interview do’s and don’ts

30 Nov 2022


Megan Boyle

Megan Boyle

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With the majority of interviews now moving online, it’s easy to let our interview game slacken. It’s important to practise good interview etiquette, even if you’re sitting in front of a screen. Whether your interview is in person or online, our list of interview do’s and don’ts should help you to wow an employer. This, in turn, could bring you one step closer to your dream role. 


So, let’s get started.


What to do in an interview

Knowing what to say and how to act in an interview can be difficult, especially if you’ve not had much experience with them. Or maybe you’re reading this because you don’t know what keeps going wrong with your interviews. Either way, let us run through our top interview do’s. 


two women sat having an interview

1. Research the company 

Prior to the interview, make sure to research the company beforehand. Not only will this give you a feel for their culture, ethics and what work they do, but they might even ask you about this in the interview. If they do ask you a question related to their business, and you can’t answer,  this is a big red flag for interviewers. So make sure you read up first.


2. Be on time or early 

First impressions are everything, and if you’re late to your interview, this doesn’t bode well. Being on time, or even ten minutes early is vital, it’ll signify to the interviewer that you are serious about getting the job. 


3. Dress appropriately 

Depending on the role that you’re applying for, the interview probably won’t require a full suit and tie, but we would recommend dressing smartly. Whether that’s formal trousers and a shirt, or a smart skirt and a jumper, anything along these lines would be fine. Wearing blue jeans and a crop top should be a no go though. 


4. Understand how to answer interview questions 

The worst thing you can do in an interview is to not have a response to a question. That’s why question preparation is essential. Usually, there will be a list of most-asked interview questions online, so take a look at a few of these and have your answers ready.  


5. Prepare some questions to ask 

At the end of an interview, it’s usual that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Rather than blanking this and getting the interview done as quickly as possible, you should have some questions in mind. Not only does this signal that you’re well prepared, but that you’re also curious about the role and are serious about working for them. 


6. Talk about your strengths and your weaknesses 

Being able to confidently talk about your strengths is a green flag for an interviewer, but you may also be asked about your weaknesses. Discussing a weakness may seem uncomfortable or awkward in an interview, and not every interviewer will ask a related question, but it’s always good to prepare. A great way to use this to your advantage is to explain how you want to turn this weakness into a strength by working for the company you’re interviewing for. This will impress the interviewer.


7. Learn from past interview mistakes 

Not every interview will result in a job offer, but this doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your mistakes. After any failed interview, it’s beneficial to ask the interviewer or recruiter what the issues were or why you weren’t chosen. This is a great opportunity to improve on your skills and to smash the next interview.


What not to do in an interview 

Understanding what not to do in an interview can be pretty self explanatory, but there are always a few things that slip through the cracks. This is especially the case when we get nervous and are not acting like ourselves. That’s why we’ve put together a few interview don’ts so you can give the best first impression possible.


two women sat in an office having an interview


1. Lie about your experience or skills 

Lying on your CV can result in some tricky conversations once in an interview. Now, although you may be able to lie your way out of it, this can cause some serious issues down the line. If you do get the role, your employers will expect you to perform certain duties, and if you can’t, this will not only be disappointing, but embarrassing too.


2. Fidget or avoid eye contact

Fidgeting or avoiding eye contact with your interviewer can come across as a lack of confidence, or little interview experience. And although this has no relation to whether you would do a good job or not, your interviewer will still mark you on this. 


3. Talk badly about past or current employers

Despite having bad past experiences with employers, mentioning this in your interview probably isn’t a good move. Not only will this taint their first impression of you, but it’s also not necessary. As an interviewer, hearing you talk badly about previous employers can go one of two ways. Either they will feel bad for you, or they will start to wonder whether you were the issue. The only time you should bring up any issues is if they ask about it directly and it’s unavoidable. 


4. Interrupt your interviewer or talk over them 

Standard interview procedure is that you wait to be asked the questions. What you don’t want to do is to interrupt your interviewer, or to talk over them. Not only does this come across rude, but it can also sound like you don’t value what they have to say. 


What to do if you can’t answer an interview question

We’ve probably all been stumped by an interviewer’s question at some point. However, there are a few tricks that will help you if you ever find yourself in this situation.


1. Stay calm, don’t freak out

A curveball question that you weren’t expecting can throw you off guard, but the worst thing you can do is to reply with ‘I don’t know’. Not only does this signal that you’re not putting much thought into your answers, but it can show that you’re giving up easily. So take a deep breath, and stay calm. You’ve got this. 


2. Ask them to clarify 

If the question isn’t making any sense to you, then it’s possible that the interviewer is not being as clear as they could be. There is nothing wrong with asking them to clarify or reword the question, and this is a much better response than claiming you have no idea what they’re talking about. As an interviewer, they will appreciate this a lot more.


3. Provide some topical information

If after they have clarified the question, you are still unsure on how to respond, it’s better to say something than nothing at all. A good reply is to talk around the subject of the question, and if the interviewer needs any more information, then they can ask extra questions.  


4.  Still don’t know what to say?

If you still don’t understand the question, a great get out of jail free card is to simply explain that you have not come across the term before, but will make an effort to educate yourself about it. This way, the interviewer knows your willingness to learn new information.


Hopefully this blog has got you ready and raring to go for your next interview. If you want to learn more about what we do here at TAL Agency, why not get in touch with our team?

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