When Interviewing for a Position: Some Dos and Don’ts

Here is some valuable advice provided by recruiters in several of the “1oo Best Companies to Work For,” annually ranked by FORTUNE magazine.

“We ask our receptionists for their impressions and direct feedback. Any hint of arrogance or condescension is considered unacceptable, and any candidate who fails our ‘receptionist test’ does not receive a job offer.” Cheryl Farnsworth, Baird

“No matter how awful your last company, job, or boss may have been, do not speak negatively of them! This is the #1 mistake I see consistently during interviews. There are ways of answering the question professionally without going into negative details.” Mitra O’Connell, Camden Property Trust

“It can be just as detrimental to show up for a job interview at a small tech startup in a tailored suit as it can be to not show up in one for an interview with a big finance firm. Do your research and use best judgment.” Beth Hoggard, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

“We look for candidates who are interested and passionate about the position they are interviewing for. It can be a red flag if someone leads with compensation and benefits questions” too early in the process. SAS Talent Acquisition Team

“Since most everyone has a smartphone, the common practice for enthusiastic potential hires is to respond to email almost immediately. It’s my recommendation to reply ASAP to stay ahead of the pack.” Tina Nguyen, Scripps

“Avoid swearing. While this may seem obvious, it happens more often than you may think — and not only can it be offensive, but you can make the interviewer question your judgment with clients of customers.” Angela Niemiec, Plante Moran

“I love when a candidate can articulate their passion for the health care field and compassion toward the patients they serve. Some stories I’ve heard through the years have been very touching.” Amie Sorge, Ohiohealth Recruitment Consultant

“Don’t put your picture on your résumé. Do make eye contact during the conversation. Red flag: talking more about what you want than what you can contribute to the firm.” Judy Wiens, Baker Donelson

In general, I agree with Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” By all means come across to others as who you really are but — when interviewing for a job — keep in mind that how you come across to others may not be appropriate for the given position or workplace culture.

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