Job Interview Dos and Don'ts

May 10, 2016

There's a ton of good advice out there about job interviews, but when push comes to shove, here are a quick 20 things you should do, and 12 things you shouldn't to make sure you nail your next interview.


  1. Conduct extensive research about the employer and the interviewers (if possible) before the interview.
  2. Practice your answers to difficult questions.
  3. Be prepared to describe specific examples from past work experiences, as well as what you learned from them.
  4. Dress conservatively and professionally; it’s hard to go wrong with black, navy, or gray.
  5. Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early for the interview.
  6. Bring at least three copies of your résumé, writing samples, transcript, and references.
  7. Be focused, energetic, enthusiastic, and motivated, but also relaxed.
  8. Make good eye contact.
  9. Be honest about your qualifications.
  10. Demonstrate that you’ve done research on the eployer.
  11. Answer the interviewer’s questions. Never try to brush off something that the interviewer seems interested in.
  12. Have good body language.
  13. Ask informed questions.
  14. Listen closely to what the interviewers have to say about the employer, your potential job duties, and other topics.
  15. Express your interest in the job.
  16. Remember to market yourself during the interview by using concrete examples of how you have succeeded in the past and how you can be an asset to the employer if you are hired.
  17. Ask for business cards from each interviewer.
  18. Inquire about the next steps in the hiring process at the conclusion of the interview.
  19. Immediately affirm your interest if offered a job, and ask for a date by which you are expected to respond.
  20. Send a thank-you note immediately after the interview.


  1. Be late.
  2. Schedule any other appointments on the day of the interview; you never know how long the interview will last.
  3. Chew gum or eat candy or breath mints, etc., during the interview.
  4. Give long-winded answers to questions, or ramble.
  5. Wear perfume, cologne, or any strong scent.
  6. Ask questions that reveal your ignorance of basic facts about the employer.
  7. Respond to questions with one- or two-word answers.
  8. Criticize past or current employers.
  9. Take too many notes that cause you to break eye contact for more than a few seconds per note.
  10. Discuss salary or benefits until you receive a job offer.
  11. Give a business card; the interviewer has your résumé.
  12. Order the most expensive item on the menu, order anything messy, or consume any alcohol, at a lunch interview.                By: Vault Law Editors
Chicago City Hall
  • David was fantastic in helping me with my transition from Detroit to Chicago. It was a long process but David was ever attentive, even when I thought the right opportunity wasn’t out there for me. David was a wonderful resource and I would recommend him to anyone looking for an opportunity in the Chicago legal market. Thanks David!

    Asama Itseumah, Associate

    Freeborn & Peters LLP