We’ve all been there: you’ve been biting your nails for days (or even weeks) leading up to the interview for that job you really want. It comes to the day, you turn up, do your best, think you’ve conquered, and the next day you get that gut-sinking phone call. You didn’t get the job.
Despite wearing your best formal attire, holding eye contact when talking, and following all the other generic advice you’ve been given, it still didn’t go as planned.
One of the most common reasons that we witness given to candidates for not passing onto the next interview stage or not getting the role often comes down to a lack of experience. However, nailing the smaller intricacies of interview etiquette will no doubt rank you higher in the hiring manager’s books despite this.
As recruitment specialists, I asked around the office for everyone’s top piece of advice for candidatesgoing into interviews. I’ve compiled a list of common interview Do’s and Don’ts, some of which may be common-sense, and others which you may not have considered the importance of so muchbefore.
Assuming the more commonly mentioned tips around positive body language, dress code, punctuality, etc., have been covered, we will start with some Don’ts:
DON’T: Talk negatively about your previous employers! Whilst it may be tempting and a core reason for you seeking a new role, it not only comes across as unprofessional but also reduces trust with your potential new employers early on.
DON’T: Listen only to respond! Lots of the time in interviews the pressure to come across as the ‘perfect candidate’ can lead you to listening just to come up with what you think are impressive responses. Not only are you more likely to talk over the interviewer if you are doing this, but you may also miss out on engaging in more of a conversation and understanding what they’re really trying to get at. Try listening, asking clarifying questions back, and then answering, rather than resorting to the bog standard ‘question-answer’ format. You’ll stand out much more!
DON’T: Tell unprofessional jokes and stories! Whilst an interview should be just as much about you understanding if you want to work for a company, as much as it is for them, and naturally wanting to see if your personalities match up, remember it is still a formal interview. Of course, your personality needs to shine through and the occasional comment here or there may help build rapport with the hiring manager, but don’t over-rely on this.
DON’T: Ask immediately about salary! Whilst companies in this day and age should be transparent about salary from the beginning of the process, this is often not the case. If it has not been included on the job advertisement, the salary range will likely be discussed at the end of the first interview. To create the best impression of yourself and intentions for the opportunity, it is best to refrain from jumping straight in with a conversation about the salary to avoid looking like this is the main drive for you.
Moving onto the Do’s…
DO: Ask lots of genuine questions about the role, team, and company development plan! Showing curiosity is very important in an interview. It not only demonstrates that you’re passionate and invested in understanding more about the opportunity but will also provide you with key insight that will inform whether it’s the right role for you or not.
DO: Smile lots! There are countless psychological studies showing the power of a smile and its influence on your audience. People gravitate towards positivity and enthusiasm, so remembering to smile and laugh in an interview will undoubtedly work in your favour. Provided you can talk seriously about the job requirements and sell yourself as a committed candidate, your smile will act as the cherry on top.
DO: Prepare and research the company and the hiring managers! Turning up to an interview having good, foundational knowledge about the company is vital. It’s important to have done research on all different aspects of the business, not only to demonstrate your passion and dedication towards this role and company specifically, but also to be able to mould your answers in the interview to their vision.
DO: Be honest about what you don’t know! It is okay to not have all of the answers in an interview, and being honest about this and showing authenticity will rank you higher in the hiring manager’s eyes than giving an untruthful or exaggerated answer which will (probably) later be uncovered. Almost every new role requires learning new skills and knowledge, and not having experience in absolutely everything that a role requires is not always the be-all and end-all to you being successful.
As experts in cybersecurity recruitment, Adeptis Group are skilled in matching talented candidates with their ideal cybersecurity employers. Offering highly professional interview preparation for both the candidate and client, we ensure a smooth-sailing and successful recruitment process from start to finish.