top of page

Nail Your Interview!

So now you've landed the interview. Before you tweet #RiseandGrind #SecureTheBag, make sure you secure yourself by amazing your interview panel. Below, I have listed a few key ways to make sure you not only stand out, but groom yourself to fit into any company's org culture.


Get casket sharp! Dress up like you're going to Gucci Mane's wedding and I'm your plus one. This is a day to remember. You want to stand out. Hiring managers are tired. After interview three, you all look the same to us. Be memorable. Be the guy with the suit and tie. I'm not saying come in with a 3D tie with psychedelic prints, what I'm saying is. . . just wear one! Ladies, think of a southern church, be conservative. No shoulders, no cleavage. Stick to basic and classic versus what is new and trendy.

Look like you care! Iron your clothing and brush your hair (including your beard, if you have one). Steer away from revealing tops and bottoms or clothes that barely fit. Remove body jewelry such as tongue rings, lip rings, and nose rings.

Lastly, believe it or not, throwing on a blazer does not automatically upgrade your outfit. Make sure what ever is worn under it is of good taste.

Answering Questions

Question: "Tell me about a time you had to work in a team."

Terrible Answer: "I mean, I've always worked in teams. I work in a team at my current job, and I had plenty of group work in college. I know how to be an effective team member."

Answer each question thoroughly and steer clear of generalizations. Identify a specific instance for each question asked. Although the question may come off as basic, it is has more layers than an onion. Your interview panel is trying to determine a series of character traits like:

Ability to collaborate

Ability to deal with multiple personalities

Communication Styles

Response to work pressures

Despite appearing to be agreeable, the response above does not provide any type of insight. Instead, provide a brief background that identifies a problem needing a solution, the role you played (pick a situation that makes you the hero), your approach, and the outcome.

Better answer: Last month, at Company2020, we were preparing a capsule to replicate the capabilities of Meg the Stallion's knees. My role was to compile a montage of her greatest moments in effort to create a visual of our desired results and monitor our control group. Each day, I dedicated three hours to re-watch her live videos and analyze her movements. Additionally, I met with the control group weekly to see how well their knees withstood in the weeks to come. Due to my reporting and projections, our product launched three months early and was approved by the FDA. I received nice kudos from our Executive Leadership team, and they told my boss that I was invaluable in keeping everybody focused to meet the tight deadlines.


Be mindful of two-part questions. It's okay to ask for a question to be repeated. If you have done quite a bit of rambling, bring it back home by restating the question. Example: ". . and that is one of my favorite times working as a team member and contributing to a common goal in a workplace setting".

Don't memorize complete scenarios.

Why? Because when there are a million eyes staring back at you, or if the question is worded in a way that you did not anticipate, you can get jumbled and enthralled on trying to remember what you wanted to say, and exactly how you wanted to say it. This in turn makes you nervous, and flop like a fish out of water. As human resource specialist, we are trained to keep quiet, which makes most flounder even more. It's truly a hard sight to see. Instead, keep in mind a few key topics that you'd like to speak on, but do NOT completely memorize what you plan to say word-for-word.

Wrap up

During this time, the most hated, debated question follows,

"Do you have any questions for us?"

Questions can literally be the straw that breaks the camel's back during an interview. Please be mindful of how each question can be perceived by your audience. Before asking, think to yourself, "how does this make me sound?" "What character attributes might they attribute to this?"

Below I have included questions asked during interviews I have sat in on and how they were misinterpreted.

Question: "How do you handle confrontational people, or people who like to argue?"

Interpretation: "Whoa, this guy either has a problem with authority, or is a general troublemaker hoping to see how far he can push the envelope. We don't need anymore of that, NEXT!"

Alternative: "What steps do you take to diffuse confrontation, in effort to promote a team working, collaborative environment?"

Why is it better: It comes off less aggressive and gives a bit more insight as to why you are asking. Remember, we don't know you or your intentions, so you want to make sure that you are coming off as pure as possible.

Question: "Why do YOU like working here?"

Interpretation: This person is just asking a question for the sake of asking, which wastes everyone's time. Additionally, it is too subjective depending on the person you ask. If no one on the interview panel has the same job title as you, the joy in their role will not help you decide if this is a good fit for you.

Alternative: "Tell me about a time you felt proud to work here?"

Why is it better: Although this can still be viewed as subjective, it's a golden opportunity to highlight what the company values and what may earn incentives. If the person interviewing you will be your manager, this also gives an inside look on what motivates them and how they work.

Interviews are mutual decisions. Utilize this time to clarify any requirements of the job and see how it best fits into your needs and career goals. Ultimately, keep in mind, "it's not what you say, its how you say it", or in this case, how you strategically word it.


Shake everyone's hand upon entering and exiting, even if it's awkward.

Dispose of your gum. We don't want to hear you smacking, or see you salivate.

Additionally, blue material hanging out of the side of your mouth is unprofessional.

Do not curse under any circumstance, what so ever.

Don't bash your prior employer, team leaders, or co-workers. EVER.

Breathing is essential. It's not a rush.

Be mindful of your body language. Make an effort not to cross your arms over your chest or fidget with something on the table.

Keep jokes to a minimum. They are always "hit or miss". With the world becoming a melting pot, your interview panel may come from various cultural backgrounds that are often difficult to recognize with the naked eye. In effort not to offend anyone, hold your jokes and we will hold our sensitivity.

Take time to look up the company and actually know what you are being interviewed for. Maybe some time has passed since you have applied, or you might've applied for so many jobs that you don't even remember the company or what they are looking for. Don't show up to the interview unknowing. Refresh yourself with the role, the company's overall goals, and one or two of their accomplishments.

Turn your phone on silent, not vibrate. We can hear it vibrating, and I'm sure having a device vibrate against your butt cheek while answering a question about your favorite team project provides enough awkwardness. If you are waiting on an important call due to a family emergency or etc, please state that upon sitting. Example: "Hey guys, thanks for having me. My grandfather is currently in the hospital and I'm waiting on a call from his surgeon, so I'm going to keep my phone nearby, if that's fine with you."


We'd love to hear your feedback. What fluster's you during interviews? Are there any subjects we've forgotten to cover? Let us know your thoughts below.

bottom of page