How to slam-dunk a job interview


It’s that time again. You’re in the market for a new job. You’ve updated your résumé, searched for possible employment, filled out some applications, and played the waiting game — all the while treating your job search as your present job. But then it happens! O, glorious day! You get a phone call from one of your potentials who wants to schedule an interview!

Now the only question that remains is this: how do you nail that interview and get the job offer?

There are a few do’s and don’ts to be aware of when going in for a job interview that one must adhere to every single time. Some things, depending on the job, aren’t as necessary as one would think. But there are at least three do’s and three don’ts that should be followed universally for any person about to meet the individual deciding if they get the job or not. Let’s examine the do’s first, and then the don’ts:

Do dress appropriately

Always look nice, no matter what! Whether you’re going in for an executive interview that would obviously scream for you to wear a suit and tie, or whether you’re meeting the foreman on a construction site to join the crew, you will always want to look and smell suitable (pun intended). And don’t dress yourself up based on your own viewpoint; always observe what the stereotype says. Handling personal hygiene before your interview is recommended. Wear clean clothes, and shun garments with holes, pictures, or words written on them. And even if it’s a blue-collar position you’re applying for, wear nice jeans and a collared shirt at the very least. This shows the hiring manager both courtesy and respect. Even if you have more than enough experience to qualify, first impressions will actually be a make-it-or-break-it point more than 90 percent of the time.

Do be punctual

Being fashionably late may work at dinner parties, but when it comes to jobs, even being slightly tardy to your interview could keep you from getting the job. This being the case, it is strongly encouraged that you be five to ten minutes early for your interview. It will initially make you appear super keen to work at that company, and it will subsequently keep managers ahead of their own schedules, which is always something very much appreciated. Calculate the time it takes for you to get from your home to your interview, and then add five or ten minutes. This will ensure that you’re ahead of the game!

Do show confidence

No employer wants to hire someone who doesn’t seem like they can confidently do the job. What if it’s a hazardous job you’re interviewing for that requires quick decisions and constant readiness? If you seem like you might fizzle out when push comes to shove, it’s very likely that you will not be offered the job. And so, when you go in to the interview, be relaxed and be yourself. But make sure to don the mantle of the person that the company needs to hire. That way, as you answer the interview questions, it will be more of you explaining why the company needs you, and why they won’t succeed without you. You already know that you have the goods: show them that you know you have them! Your confidence will consequently cause their confidence in your abilities to skyrocket.

Don’t talk down your previous employers

It looks beyond shallow and shows you to be a bitter candidate if you verbally bash your previous employers when having an interview with a potential future one. It’s going to make you seem petty, and it’s going to make the hiring manager doubt your ability to follow directions perfectly since you appear to allow your emotions to dictate your actions. If you had a bad experience with a previous employer and you are asked why you left that job, be tasteful and gracious with your response. And if you were at fault for the bad blood, own up to it civilly. Humility goes a long way, and a manager would certainly prefer hiring someone who appears gracious over someone who flaunts hostility.

Don’t pretend to be someone else

You scored this interview because this company wants to hire you! So don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. The goal is to not just get a job, but to get a job that is the right fit for you, as well as the employer. If you pretend to have certain personality traits that you think would appeal to the hiring manager, or if you have to pretend to be more knowledgeable about the job requirements than you are, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Because believe it or not, you won’t be able to keep up the act forever. Eventually, your real personality or your lack of knowledge will show. Even if that means that at the end of the interview you have to decline because you don’t feel it’s a good fit, you will have done yourself and the hiring manager a much better service by being candid. Don’t forget: honesty truly is the best policy!

Don’t be unprepared

This means in any and every way you can think of: from learning more about the company you’re applying to all the way to finding someone to watch your kids. Make sure you prepare for your interview. Study up on the place you’re applying for; set up day care options beforehand and not at the last minute; put gas in your car. Anything that could ruin your chances to land this job which you have the power to change falls back on you, so prepare accordingly.

And there we are! These will be your stepping-stones to occupational victory! Making sure you follow the do’s and don’ts should not only help you to get the job you’re interviewing for; it should help you to slam-dunk it with class and professionalism!


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