Recently I led a discussion at the University of Georgia about the “Do’s and Don’ts of Job Interviews”.  The student questions were spot on and the conversation went well.  I decided to break down the key  points into 5 categories;
  1. Personality
  2. Experience
  3. Relationship
  4. Communication
  5. Long Term Outlook

I will cover these five points over the next several weeks, starting with personality.  No matter your job level or the requirements your personality will be observed and measured into the following key areas Attitude | Appearance | Confidence | Approachability | Professionalism. Now for a breakdown of each one.


  • Always be honest
  • Show the enthusiasm & passion for your field.
  • Express your passion for the type of work you want to do, this displays an interest in the subject matter.
  • Don’t be nervous – you must already have a good chance since you got the interview!


  • Maintain positive body language. Be on the lookout for certain gestures that communicate negative messages, such as poor eye contact, hurried nodding or crossing your arms.
  • Posture and body language, and manners are still at the top of the list.
  • Differentiate yourself from others, find a way to make an immediate impact (this does not mean wear a crazy tie)
  • Social network clean-up (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc…).
  • Google yourself and see what employers will find, trust me they are doing the same thing.
  • Basic presentation issues:
    • no cologne/perfume/powder odor
    • no ornate jewelry
    • no chewing gum/mints/cough drop
    • turn off (not to vibrate) your cell phone
    • don’t bring water bottle to interview
    • have a professional email (nothing like
    • Bring a notebook/portfolio & pen
  • Image is a paramount consideration for any interview.
    • I would recommend ensuring no visible piercing along with the usual, nice hair, clean teeth, etc.


  • Be a listener and engage yourself in a two-way conversation
  • Make eye contact
  • Sit up straight, lean slightly forward with hands on table
  • Firm handshake, if you miss the shake, ok to say “hey, let’s try that again”
  • Never take a defensive stance on a question (honest answers)
  • Don’t complain about workloads, hours worked, your boss etc…
  • Do not speak negatively about anyone.
  • DO NOT compare yourself to other people, be your own person.


  • Allow the person interviewing to really visualize you (the candidate in the position).
  • Smile; for 10 seconds when you enter a room & when you say “nice to meet you”
  • Make eye contact for two extra seconds when being introduced (and saying goodbye) to someone new. One-one-thousand…two-one-thousand…
  • Develop an unforgettable answer to a few common questions.
  • Sit with toes pointed AT the speaker (away signifies resistance)
  • Discover the CPI, or Common Point of Interest, between you and any new friend as soon as possible. Ask creative, unique, interesting, thought-provoking and challenging questions like, “Can you describe the best day you had at work last year?
  • Keep your hands away from your nose or mouth while talking, it is a display of dishonesty.
  • Scott’s Articles, great resource for how to be more approachable (great and easy to read books as well) – also where I read about CPI.


  • Arrive 15 minutes early
  • Make sure you understand the employer’s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next.
  • Know what action you are expected to take next and DO IT!
  • Back everything up by solid detailed scenarios or experience.
  • Personal thank you’s and not just an email.
  • LinkedIn profiles need to match up with their current resume.

Many of these are obvious and tons more can be added.  I want to thank everyone that contributed to this post, the students of the University of Georgia, member of LinkedIn and  Next we will discuss your experience and how it fits into the equation.

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