Things to do and not to do during an interview

I am always happy to help folks who are new to the interview process. I am surprised at how rarely I am asked for insights into the process. Here are some things I would share if asked…

  1. Be on time, but not so early that it is awkward to have you sitting around. Ten minutes or so ahead of your interview time is fine.
  2. Be polite to my secretary. (Psst, she is actually in on the interview! After you leave I am going to ask her how you treated her. If you are not smart enough to know you should be polite to my right hand person, well, you are not smart enough to be polite to anyone.)
  3.  Yes, it is important that you dress professionally. You should know that impressions begin the moment you walk into the room.
  4. Do not spit on the floor of the auto shop when I am interviewing you to be my new automotive teacher. (Yup, actually happened!)
  5. Tell me how much you love kids. You are interviewing to be a teacher. I need to know that helping kids is the reason why.
  6. When I ask you how you would comfort an elementary aged student who is upset about the death of their pet dog and your answer is, “Things die, get over it,” you have failed a really important question. (Yup, actually happened! Also, see number five.)
  7. Good grooming is important, but be careful with cologne or perfume. One applicant wore so much perfume I could not concentrate on her answers and I just wanted to get finished. Plus, you never know who is allergic to strong scents. It would not be good to send your potential new boss into an allergic reaction!
  8. Yes, the first question will be to tell me about yourself. I want you to relax and I figure that you should get this answer right. Plus, I am listening for what is important to you.
  9. If you have been asked to provide materials, provide them. Personally, I am very interested in your college transcripts. I want to know how you did in the area you want to teach.
  10. Rehearse your interview with someone beforehand. You’ll likely anticipate some of the questions and will have better examples of your points. It is not cheating to be prepared!
  11. Shake the hands of the folks who are interviewing you. It shows that you are friendly.
  12. Smile! No one wants to hire a grouchy person.

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