Top 10 Interview Do's and Don'ts

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom Podcast - Episode 38

To succeed in a job interview it's important to say and do the right things that make a positive first impression and convince employers you would be a great fit for their company.

Nora Liles, an Orion Recruiter, joins the show to discuss her list of top 10 dos and don'ts for succeeding in your first interview.



If you are a transitioning service member looking for the best jobs for military officers or military technicians, the initial interview with a potential company is perhaps the most important. In a recent podcast, Nora Liles, an Orion Talent Recruiter, offers the top five do's and don'ts during a professional interview, and how to ultimately make a positive first impression.

DO research the company.
You want to treat the initial interview as an entrance exam, Nora explained. Be sure that you know the basics of the company and how their values and mission align with your goals. This is your opportunity to engage with the company, Nora added.

DO know the position well and how it relates to your background.
Be sure to read the position description carefully, Nora advised. Many times, candidates are uncertain how their skillset translates into a civilian career. By reading the position description with a close eye, veterans will be able to see keywords that can pertain to their own experience. For example, if the position is for a Production Supervisor and in your military career you supervised others, that is directly related, Nora explained. Be prepared to talk about the position in an overall way, and give specific examples from your own background that align with the position description.

DO ask thoughtful, engaging questions.
This tip can help you gather a better understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. Try to keep the questions focused on the position itself, and how you can help the company in the particular role that you are interviewing for, Nora stated.

DO dress to impress.
The old saying, "dress for the job you want, not for the job you have," is definitely true! First impressions matter, Nora stated. Think of your initial interview as a date, she added. Wear a suit, always, and be conservative with colors and accessories.

DO ask for a commitment.
This is perhaps the most important part of the interview process, Nora explained. At the end of the interview, express your interest in the position and your seriousness in the role by actually asking for the job if it feels like a good fit, Nora stated.

DON'T ask about pay or benefits.
In an initial interview, you need to focus on what you as a candidate can bring to the table - your skill set, qualifications, and performance. In additional interviews or once you have an offer letter, it is more appropriate to ask those questions, but do not make it the main focus of the interview, Nora cautioned.

DON'T ask why the position is open.
This information does not really matter as long as you personally like the job, Nora explained. Keep the focus on how the job is a good match for you personally, the responsibilities and duties, and the company culture.

DON'T bring up personal information.
Marital status, number of children, etc. do not matter to the hiring manager. Only your skill set and accomplishments should be highlighted in an interview, Nora stated. Though it is illegal for interviews to discriminate, some bias can exist. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable position, Nora added. Of course, it's perfectly fine to bring it up if asked, but do not volunteer this information.

DON'T say that you've never failed.
Owning up to your mistakes and failures shows your character, what you've learned, and how you've moved on, Nora explained. Many hiring managers are looking for those individuals who have achieved these intangible qualities, so "own your failure," Nora added.

DON'T forget to be yourself!
Think of the interview as an opportunity for the hiring managers to really get to know you. While interview prep is important, do not over-prep to the point of sounding like a robot.

If you are a veteran looking for the best jobs for military officers or military technician careers, these tips from one of Orion's finest Military Recruiters will help you to be on your way to finding a successful civilian career.