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Job interview 101: dos and don’ts
15 Apr 2024 | Words by the Star People Recruitment Team

A job interview can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to put your best foot forward. While it’s natural to be a bit anxious, there are certain things you’ll want to steer clear of to maximise your chances of making a great impression.

Don’t: be late to interview

First and foremost, avoid being late. We know, we know – easier said than done. But showing up late demonstrates a lack of respect for the interviewer’s time and can suggest that you may have trouble being punctual in the role.

Do: give yourself time

Instead, aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show that you’re organised and committed. This gives you a chance to collect yourself and review your notes before the interview begins.

Don’t: criticise your employer

Another big no-no is badmouthing your previous or current employer. Even if you had a terrible experience, airing those grievances during the interview will only make you look bitter and unprofessional.

Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show that you’re organised and committed.

Do: share your experience

Instead, focus on highlighting the positive aspects of your past roles. Share what you enjoyed about the work, the skills you developed, and the lessons you learned – these are the things the interviewer really wants to hear about.

Don’t: ask about perks in the interview

While we’re on the subject of what to avoid saying, steer clear of inquiring about salary, benefits, and perks right off the bat. Those topics are best saved for later in the process, once the employer has expressed interest in hiring you.

Do: convey your enthusiasm

Instead, use this initial conversation to demonstrate your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role. There will be time to discuss compensation once you’ve established yourself as the ideal candidate.

Share what you enjoyed about the work, the skills you developed, and the lessons you learned – these are the things the interviewer really wants to hear about.

Don’t: have a case of verbal diarrhoea

One more verbal misstep to watch out for? Overusing filler words like “um,” “uh,” and “like.” These can make you sound unsure of yourself and detract from the substance of your responses.

Do: breathe during the interview

Instead, take a breath, collect your thoughts, and speak clearly and concisely. Pause if you need to gather your thoughts – it’s better than littering your responses with distracting filler words.

Don’t: fidget

Now, let’s talk about body language. Avoid fidgeting, crossing your arms, or slouching – these behaviours can convey a lack of confidence or engagement.

Use this initial conversation to demonstrate your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role.

Do: stay engaged for all the interview

Instead, make eye contact, sit up straight, and use open, welcoming gestures. A firm handshake and a warm smile can also go a long way in making a positive impression.

Don’t: tell your life story

And finally, steer clear of bringing up anything too personal or controversial. The interview is not the time to discuss your political views, religious beliefs, or family drama.

Do: stay on topic

Instead, keep the conversation focused on your qualifications and fit for the role. Share examples that highlight your relevant skills and experience, and explain why you’re excited about the opportunity.

A firm handshake and a warm smile can also go a long way in making a positive impression.


The bottom line is that a job interview is your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Avoid these common missteps, and instead focus on demonstrating your professionalism, preparedness, and genuine interest in the role. Good luck!

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