Interview Do’s and Don’ts | Southwestern Illinois College


Come alone – you don’t want the employer to think you need handholding!

Come a little early – it shows you are interested in the position.

Address the interviewer by title and name. Never call them by their first name, unless you are told to do so.

Shake hands firmly. Nobody wants a mouse or a bone-crusher working for them!

Wait until you are asked to be seated.

Maintain good eye contact. Failure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer can indicate a lack of interest, a lack of honesty, or a lack of sincerity.

Maintain good body language. Body language can reveal a lot about you, and can help create a positive or negative impression. Your interview is the time to stand tall, smile, be attentive, and concerned about your posture.

Take time to think about your answers to interview questions. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification if there are questions you don’t understand.

Be yourself. An interview is not the time to become theatrical, nor is it the time to be stiff and dull. In other words, be natural – be yourself!

Be positive. Stress your qualifications for the job and your readiness to undertake its duties.

Ask when you may call to learn about the hiring decision.


Smoke, eat or drink anything, even if invited to do so.

Apologize for your lack of experience.

Ask about salary or days off.

Handle anything on the interviewer’s desk.

Discuss personal problems, financial problems, and other jobs you did not get.

Criticize former teachers or employers.

Provide information which is not factual.

Beg for the job or hang around after the interview.


Relax and tell me a little about yourself.

Why do you want to work as a …?

What skills does this job require?

What qualifications do you have?

Tell me about my company.

Why do you want to work for us?

How did you learn about us?

How many other companies have you approached?

How many employers have you worked for during the last five years?

You seem to switch jobs a lot. Why?

How long do you plan to work here?

Tell me about your current (or last) job.

Why are you leaving that job?

Are you planning to give notice that you’re leaving for another job?

What will your manager say when you give notice that you’re leaving?

What did you like most about that job?

What would you change about that job?

Did you ever have a disagreement with a boss? Why? Why not?

Tell me about your education or training.

Did you enjoy school?

Which course did you find most difficult? Why?

Did you join any school activities? Why?

How were your grades in math? English?

Do you plan to continue your education?

What do you do to relax after work?

What do you plan to be doing for work five years from today?

What salary do you expect to be earning five years from today?

When do you hope to retire?

Give an example of any major problem you faced and how you solved it.

In your lifetime, what was your greatest accomplishment? What did you learn from it?

What was your greatest failure? What did you learn from it?

What is your greatest weakness?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Do you have a drug or alcohol problem?

Last year, how many days of work (or school) did you miss? How many days were you late?

What motivates you to do a good job?

Are you at your best when working alone or in a group?

Would you rather be in charge of a project or work as part of the team? Why?

As a youngster, what did you do to earn your own spending money?

What would you do if one supervisor told you to do something now and another supervisor told you to do it later?

Give me two reasons why I should NOT hire you?

Who are your heroes? Why?

What do you like most about yourself? Least?

If you were told to report to a supervisor who was a woman, a minority, or handicapped, what problems would this cause for you?

What salary were you paid on your last job?

What kind of salary are you looking for today?

In your last job, how much overtime did you average each week?

Have you ever been fired from a job? Why?

If you could be an animal, which would it be and why?

Do you have any questions for me?


Could you describe a typical work day and the things I’d be doing?

Which duties are most important for this job?

Tell me about the problems connected with this job and how, as boss, those problems affect you.

How will I be trained or introduced to the job?

How long should it take me to get my feet on the ground and become productive?

How is this job important to the company – how does it contribute?

What are the department’s goals for the year?

How many people work in your department? In the company?

Who are the people I’d be working with and what do they do?

How would I get feedback on my performances?

If hired, would I report directly to you, or to someone else?

Has the company had a layoff and was everyone recalled?

If you were to offer me this job, where could I expect to be in five years?

Could you give me a brief tour? I would enjoy seeing where your people work.

What could I say to convince you to offer me this job?

I want this job. Would you consider hiring me on a 30-day period to prove myself?