How to Avoid a Bad Interview

Gaining an interview means you’ve made it through the first round of cuts; your resume proved that you have the necessary experience and now your potential employer wants to talk to you to find out if you are the right person for the job.  Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but properly preparing for a job interview will help you avoid having a bad interview.

Look Professional

Before the interview even begins, your potential employer will have taken in your appearance and will have already developed an impression of you.  For this reason, it is important that you arrive to the interview well-dressed.  This means dressing one level above what your potential co-workers are wearing.  For example, if working individuals wear jeans and a t-shirt, you should go to your interview wearing dress pants and a button-up shirt.  Remember to also dress modestly and groom your hair.  It is also a good idea to avoid wearing any scented products like perfume or smoking before your interview, in case the interviewer has allergies.

Act Professional

Arriving late to your interview looks unprofessional and can put your interview off to a bad start.  Be sure to determine how long it will take for you to get to the interview location and arrive at least five minutes prior to your interview.  Arrive with a copy of your resume and list of references in case your interviewer asks for this.  Also be sure to bring a notepad and pen, and take notes while the interviewer is discussing the position with you. This shows that you are listening and are serious about the job.  Be sure to do your research about the company before the interview so that you are prepared.  Send a short thank-you note promptly after the interview.

Speak Up

An interview should be a conversation, and both parties should ask questions.  Ask any questions you have about the company or the job responsibilities.  Bring up your personal career goals and give examples of skills relevant to the position. Take your time and choose your words carefully. Of course, there are some times when you should keep your mouth closed.  Don’t badmouth or gossip about past co-workers or superiors.  This reflects poorly on you, and your potential employer may worry that you will speak similarly about them.  Try to speak positively instead of negatively. Also be careful when asking about sensitive information, such as salary information.  Unless the interviewer brings this topic up, discuss salary after you have been offered the position.