6 Interview Tips to Get the Job — and 6 People Doing It Wrong

By Robert Half on December 19, 2013 at 8:00am

For the majority of candidates, the job interview is the most difficult portion of the hiring process. You’re under the gun to make a strong impression. And research we’ve conducted shows that you don’t have a lot of time to do so. Sixty percent hiring managers form an opinion of job seekers in 10 minutes or less. Almost one in five (18 percent) do it in half that time. With that in mind, here are six interview tips for the next time you’re across the desk from a potential employer — and six people who are doing it wrong, according to managers we’ve surveyed.

Job Interview Tip #1

Do this … Prepare responses to common interview questions ahead of time by role-playing with a friend or mentor. But don’t go overboard. Crafting “perfect” answers could cause you to come across as stilted or prevent you from handling tricky interview questions

Not this … “One candidate sang all of her responses to interview questions.”

Job Interview Tip #2

Do this … Dress up for the interview. This is one of the easiest interview tips to follow. Wearing a suit or blazer projects professionalism and shows the hiring manager that you take the opportunity seriously. (Even many seemingly laidback IT executives prefer candidates to wear a business suit.)

Not this … “An applicant wore the uniform from his former employer.”

Job Interview Tip #3 

Do this … Demonstrate your desire to work for the firm. Employers want to know that you see the opportunity as more than “just a job.” One way to show your genuine interest is by researching the company ahead of time and demonstrating that knowledge during the interview.

Not this … “One candidate handcuffed himself to the desk during the interview.”

Job Interview Tip #4

Do this … Remain respectful and professional. No matter why you left a previous role, don’t badmouth a former boss or coworkers. Otherwise, the hiring manager will wonder if you’ll get along with the existing team or not.

Not this … “When asked by the hiring manager why she was leaving her current job, the applicant said, ‘My manager is a jerk. All managers are jerks.’”

Job Interview Tip #5

Do this … Don’t bring up starting salary or benefits unless the hiring manager does first, or the employer has expressed serious interest in hiring you. You don’t want to make it seem like that’s all you care about.

Not this … “The applicant told me he really was not interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off.”

Job Interview Tip #6

Do this … Ask insightful questions of the hiring manager to get a better sense of the job and the culture of the firm. This is one of those interview tips that job seekers often forget. But keep in mind that the interview is your chance to make sure the company is right for you.

Not this … “When asked by the hiring manager if he had any questions for him, the candidate replied by telling a knock-knock joke.”

Looking for more interview tips? Download our free guide How to Avoid Seven Common Interview Mistakes.

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