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What to Do During and After a Job Interview

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by on May 4, 2010 .

Summary:
This resource will help you dress and act in a professional manner at your interview. The resource also explains what to do after your interview.

What should I wear to my interview?

Employers expect job candidates to dress nicely for interviews. What you wear and how you style your hair sends a message to the employer. So, it is good to dress conservatively for your interview. But it is also good to fit into the company’s culture and what they wear at work. So if you are confused about what to wear, you can use these lists adapted from How to Get a Job and Keep It:

Women

 - Matching skirted suit (first best choice)
 - Matching pantsuit (second best choice)
 - Jacket with a skirt
 - Jacket with a dress
 - Jacket with slacks

Men

 - Matching suit (best choice)
 - Blazer with slacks
 - Sport coat with slacks
 - Shirt with tie and slacks
 - Sweater with slacks

If you do not have these types of clothes, check with your local employment agency to see if there is a community service that provides dress clothes for interviews. Many community “closets” have suits you can have or borrow for interviews.

Use this list adapted from Interviews for Dummies for personal appearance:

Women

 - No heavy makeup
 - No provocative clothing (see-through, tight, slits, super-short skirts)
 - No flashy jewelry
 - No strappy shoes, sandals, or towering heels
 - No big hair or elaborate styles
 - No hosiery runs or designer stockings

Men

 - No sagging coat lining or saggy pants
 - No five o’clock shadows (be cleanly shaved, and if you have a beard or other facial hair, make sure it’s neatly trimmed)
 - No short or white socks
 - No mismatched belts and shoes (same color leather)
 - No ties too short or too long or bowties
 - No wrinkled or soiled clothing

Everyone

 - No tinted glasses
 - No joke or fad watches
 - No visible body piercing or multiple earrings in one ear
 - No visible body art; cover tattoos if possible
 - No inconsistent look – no sneakers with suits

What should I do during my interview?

Employers respect and like job candidates who look professional, who are relaxed, polite, and confident. Preparing for your interview will help you to relax and be confident. The following list, adapted from Interviews for Dummies will help you be polite and make a positive impression:

 - Arrive at least 10 minutes early for the interview (always leave extra time to get lost or get stuck in traffic) and turn off your cell phone
 - Bring extra copies of your cover letter and résumé
 - Exude confidence: Smile, hold your head high, shoulders back, and walk with vigor.
 - Radiate friendliness: Greet everyone (including the receptionist) with warmth.
 - Be positive: Do not talk badly about yourself, other people, or complain about anything.
 - Extend yourself: Offer a firm, strong handshake at the beginning and end of an interview
 - Use eye contact: Maintain eye contact during your interview, glancing away occasionally, but always remaining focused on the person you are talking with.
 - Gesture naturally: Find a home base for your hands and let your gestures add interest to your conversation – do not pick at your nails, tap your feet, straiten your hair, or bite your lips.
 - Display respect: Don’t use first names unless you are asked to, rise when you greet someone, and be a good listener.
 - Be mindful of good manners: Turn off your cell phone and do not eat, chew gum, smoke, or wear fragrance.
 - Be gracious: Thank the interviewer for his or her time, write and mail a thank you/follow-up letter so that it arrives no more than one week after the interview.

What should I not do during my interview?

 - Arrive late
 - Dress inappropriately
 - Appear unprofessional
 - Address people by their first names
 - Drink alcohol or smoke before the interview or use cologne or breath mints to cover up smoker’s breath
 - Sit down right away without greeting and shaking hands with everyone
 - Mumble or speak too loudly or quickly
 - Slouch or sit too rigidly
 - Stuff your hands in your pockets

What should I do after my interview?

In order to thank the employer and continue the interview process, write a thank you or follow up letter. Make sure you send the letter so that it arrives within seven days of the interview. If you have not heard back from the employer within ten days, you may call to ask about the job. These CWEST resources will help you write your follow up letter.

Works Cited


Kennedy, Joyce Lain. Job Interviews for Dummies. 2nd ed. New York: Hungry Minds, 2000. Print.

Morem, Susan. How to Get a Job and Keep It: Career and Life Skills You Need to Succeed. Chicago: Ferguson Publishing, 2002. Print.

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