By Marc Basil | March 17, 2018


As an executive recruiter for nearly two decades, I’ve witnessed some great and not-so-great behaviors by job seekers I’ve either interviewed personally or heard about from hiring managers retelling the stories. For the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on the not-so-great behaviors. From candidates taking phone calls in the middle of an interview to candidates losing out on a job offer due to not emailing a Thank You note, the range of questionable behavior throughout the interview process is rather large.

When it comes to the job search and interview process one thing is certain — you must use common sense. Often times the most fundamental factors are the ones that get overlooked. Job seekers have plenty to prepare for when getting ready to go in for an interview. However, in order to stand apart from other peers vying for the same roles, it’s important to go back to the basics in addition to all of the in-depth preparation like researching the company, preparing questions and role-playing your responses.

If you’re able to display a healthy dose of common sense, and be able to come through on the other aspects of the interview, you’ll ultimately appear polished and well-rounded, and have a greater chance of securing the role.

Therefore, I created the 4 Common Sense Recommendations When Preparing to Interview below:

1. Do Your Homework. 
Today, where limitless information is readily available from the comfort of our homes, there is no excuse for a candidate to be unprepared. One of the most significant frustrations we hear from hiring organizations is when a candidate is not in a position to discuss the organization they are interviewing with because they haven’t done any research ahead of the interview. As you approach the day of the interview, ensure you have a good handle on the company history, key product offerings/services, any background information on the individuals you’ll be meeting with, etc. Companies will gauge a candidate not only on the strength of their answers but how much preparation they’ve done to get to know the company.

2. Dress the Part. 
Every organization has a unique corporate culture and attire is part of that culture. Often times, the organization will communicate their expectations concerning attire when an interview is being set up. If you are unsure, and you are working with a recruiter, please ask as the recruiter because they will have a good sense of what the hiring company is expecting. If you’re not working with a recruiter, there is nothing wrong with calling the company’s HR Department to ask about the guidelines for dress. Additionally, a safe bet is to err on the side of caution—often times being overdressed is much preferred than being underdressed.

3. Know When to Discuss Compensation. 
The ultimate goal of an interview is to determine if there is a good match between the hiring company and the candidate. While compensation and benefits are terribly important, a candidate bringing these topics up at an inappropriate point in the interview can give a hiring company the impression that compensation is more important than learning about the role, the organization, culture, etc. If a recruiter has brokered the meeting, almost universally, compensation will not and should not come up. If a recruiter is not involved, be mindful of selecting the appropriate time to discuss salary, benefits, the ability to work remotely, etc.

4. Say “Thank you.” 
The day of the handwritten thank you letter after an interview has passed. However, a thank you email to the individual/s you met is still highly recommended. The email does not need to revisit each point discussed in the interview, but can be short and sweet and should be genuine and done no later than 24 hours after the interview is completed.

What are some other common sense tips job seekers should keep in mind when interviewing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


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