8 Common Sense Interview Tips


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**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches.  Each month, all members discuss a certain topic.  This month, we are talking about common job search misconceptions. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective.  You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.


Getting ready for an interview is often the most stressful part of the hiring process. Many job seekers do not take the time to properly prepare for an interview. This can lead to more than a bad answer to an interview question. Not taking the time to prepare can make you late, nervous and less likely to land the job.

Preparing for an interview is as simple as following a few common sense guidelines:

1. Where are you going: Be sure to do a dry run to the interview location. Whenever possible make the dry run during the same time of day as the scheduled interview, or make sure your GPS is working the day before you program it–just in case. This will allow you to easily locate the office without worrying about traffic or detours.

2. What are you bringing: Carefully review any guidelines set forth by the hiring manager. Bring extra copies of your resume, your portfolio (if applicable), a list of references and anything else requested. Prepare these items in advance to prevent forgetting items. It is also a good idea to keep clean copies of your resume in your car in case of an emergency.

3. What are you wearing: Try on each item that you will be wearing to the interview. Insure the clothing fits properly, is clean, pressed and damage free. Don’t forget to check socks and shoes.

4. Grooming: If your hair, mustache or beard needs trimming take care of it several days before the interview. Leaving this to the last minute can cause delays.

5.  Phones: OFF! Consider yourself out of the running if your phone goes off during the interview… really out of it if your ring tone is “Baby Got Back”. Be smart and turn your phone off during your interview.

6. Questions: It is a mistake to assume that the only person asking question is the hiring manager. Instead, carefully craft a list of 2 to 5 questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should be thought provoking and demonstrate your knowledge of the company, its product or service and website.

7. Answers: Many interviews begin with the same questions: What do you hope to do? What are your goals? What is your greatest strength/weakness? Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Put some time and effort into thinking about these questions and prepare your answers in advance.

8. Eat, Sleep, Relax: Neglecting your health by failing to eat or sleep properly before your resume is a mistake. Try to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. The more relaxed you are, the better the interview will go.

Other common sense suggestions include researching the hiring manager, contacting your references and bringing along a pen and paper for notes. Preparing for an interview doesn’t take much time, but it can have a big impact on your day.


Read on for more great advice from Career Collective members. Don’t forget to follow our hashtag on Twitter #careercollective.

5 Misconceptions Entry-Level Job Seekers Make, @heatherhuhman

How “Interview Savvy” Are You?, @careersherpa

Employers Don’t “Care”, @ValueIntoWords

Misconceptions about Using Recruiters, @DebraWheatman

15 Myths and Misconceptions about Job-Hunting, @KatCareerGal

Are You Boring HR? @resumeservice

Job Search Misconceptions Put Right, @GayleHoward

Who Cares About What You Want in a Job? Only YOU!, @KCCareerCoach

How to get your resume read (sort of), @barbarasafani

The 4 secrets to an effective recruiter relationship, @LaurieBerenson

Job Interviews, Chronic Illness and 3 Big Ideas, @WorkWithIllness

The secret to effective job search, @Keppie_Careers

Superstars Need Not Apply, @WalterAkana

The Jobs Under the Mistletoe, @chandlee

8 Common Sense Interview Tips @erinkennedycprw

Still no job interview? @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Misconceptions about the Hiring Process: Your Online Identity is a Critical Part of Getting Hired, @expatcoachmegan

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Written by Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW - Visit the website to hire executive resume writer Erin Kennedy, CERW, CPRW

Erin is an internationally renowned certified resume writer specializing in professional and executive level resumes and career services.

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13 Responses to “8 Common Sense Interview Tips”
  1. Great points, Erin!

    Your last point #8 – eat, sleep, relax is often overlooked but so critical. Jobseekers should remember to take a deep breath and go into an interview process relaxed and in a positive frame of mind. It can make a big difference!

  2. Erin,

    Great tips! Not following any one of these points can throw someone off and really effect their performance at an interview. You simply cannot afford to blow an interview in today’s competitive marketplace because of delays or not being prepared.

    Many thanks for all these great recommendations!


  3. Thanks, Megan. My thoughts exactly! 🙂

  4. Right! If you go to the interview tense and nervous, it will absolutely show.

    Thanks, Laurie!

  5. Joel says:

    Erin, indeed great tips. The first and very important according to me is “What are you wearing:” – dressing sense. Since i always hear that you never get second chance to create “first impression” and first impression really matters for interviewers.

  6. Yes, very true!

    Thanks, Joel.

  7. So, therefore, applicant must be focused on their goal as to get the right job they aim. They must do a lot of anticipation like whatever hindrances to their goals. And they must look presentable appearing to the interviewer, even to the crowd/panel of critics.

  8. Hi…

    Sure, Many job seekers do not take the time to properly prepare for an interview. Point No. 1 Where are you going? Point No. 2 What are you bringing? & Point No. 8 Eat, Sleep, Relax are very important for job seekers.

  9. Great article, thanks. I think you’re completely right about the value of training. Without training we’re all just hoping for the best and trying to avoid failing. Coaching helps us focus on what matters.

  10. Raj Gohil says:

    It is also a good thing to not ask about the salary, benefits and loan facilities on the first interview 🙂

  11. Wow, thanks for the valuable guidelines! I suppose at the end of the day all the employer is looking for is someone genuinely passionate about the job, and someone they would be proud to introduce to others. If you want to be a part of them, they must feel you really fit there. That’s where stuff like dressing sense comes in.



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