The Interview

DO:

  • Do be prepared and do your research!  Make sure to read through the organization’s web site and/or any brochures.  Read through staff bios and get a sense of the culture of the organization from pictures and videos on the web site.
  • Ask around to former colleagues or peers who may know something about the organization.  If you know someone who used to work there, even better.  They would be able to give you an inside scoop of what is going on internally, for better or for worse.
  • Prepare with questions you think may be asked of you during the interview.  Most hiring managers want to get a sense of the kind of work you have done and what results you yielded. 
  • Practice with a friend to answer commonly asked interview questions.
  • Be prepared for some non-traditional questions to see if you can think on your feet.  (i.e. If you were a kind of vegetable, what would you be and why?)
  • Keep your answers concise and to the point.  Don’t go off on too many tangents as you may lose the interest of the interviewer and come across as unfocused. 
  • Ask questions about the interviewer’s background.  Everyone likes to talk about their own experiences and how they got to their current position.
  • Be genuine and passionate about the mission of an organization.  If you truly believe in the organization’s mission, this will come across during your conversations.
  • Be honest and most importantly, be yourself.  

DON'T:

  • Be late to an interview or meeting of any kind.  Even if it is just an initial phone screen, you want to make a good first impression.
  • Be afraid to ask questions.  It can be a red flag to a hiring manager or recruiter if no questions are asked. 
  • Do not exaggerate your experiences or skill in a particular area.  A good hiring manager or recruiter will be able to pick up on inconsistencies.  The world is a much smaller place with all the on-line sources and your background can be investigated easily. 
  • By the same token, be careful not to be too modest about your accomplishments.  There is an important balance between being appropriately proud of your abilities and experiences and being over-confident to the point where it is inauthentic. 

** Remember, interviewing is a two-way street.  The organization is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.  Being asked to spend too much time on a sample work-related project could be a red flag for you.