The face-to-face interview is our final piece of the puzzle.

We’re here—at the end of the road.  But we’re not going to leave without giving you one last present, a wrap-up of the basics of what we’ve discussed to this point.  This chart will serve as a quick, last-minute guide to help you navigate through the obstacles that await you during your interview.

Tips for a great Face-to-Face Interview

Do This:

Don’t Do This:

Arrive early for the interview. Arrive more than 15 minutes early.
Call ahead if you can’t arrive at the scheduled time. Smoke or chew gum.  If you smoke before the interview, use a mint.
Pay attention to the support staff.  Doing well with them gives the impression you fit into the organization easily.  Also, in certain circumstances, they can provide a wealth of unfiltered information. Never interrupt the interviewer.  If the interviewer wants to talk, let them.  Good listeners are universally liked.
Use a firm handshake and get on a first name basis as quickly as possible.
Sit up straight and stay just a little tense.  If you’re totally relaxed, you may drift into contradictory body language, which is something that people read intuitively. Sit until you are offered a chair.
Smile and maintain eye contact—this really helps!
Be prepared to discuss the content of your resume and to explain any gaps in employment. Lie or be dishonest.  Many catastrophic things can occur if you do this, especially if you get the job. Exaggerating is lying.
Know in advance the accomplishments you want to highlight and look out for natural opportunities to bring them up. Force information on the interviewer.  This is a major turn-off.
Take notes, whether you need them or not. Answer a question you don’t understand.  If necessary, ask to have the question repeated, as in “Could you ask the question in another way?  I want to have it clear in my mind.”
Ask additional questions to keep the interviewer talking, gain potentially valuable information, and create a two-way conversation. Be disappointed if the interviewer handles the interview differently than you expect.  If your human relation skills are good, you’re in good shape.
Answer questions and make statements in a direct and concise manner. Avoid answering questions with only “Yes” or “No”; give explanations whenever possible.
Wherever appropriate, express gratitude for past employers and bosses. Make negative statements about former bosses, past companies, or your present company.  If absolutely necessary, speak in terms of “problems,” “difficulties,” or “challenges” versus negative comments.
If a statement you make is challenged, offer a diplomatic response such as, “In the environments I have been in, this is how it was handled.  If there are better ways to do it, I would be very interested in learning them.” Get drawn into even a low-key argument.  If you argue, you can’t win, even if you are right.
Thank the interviewer for their time.


So we finish back where we started—at preparation.  It’s one of the keys to success in life and also to success in your career, including the face-to-face interview.  Hopefully, this series of blog posts has helped you to prepare in the proper fashion . . . and to achieve the success you’re looking for.

(For more information about successfully preparing for YOUR next interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)