Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts: Steps for Each Phase


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After weeks of job hunting, your hard work has finally paid off with a job interview. Now, the next important step is to make a great first impression during the interview process!

Rest assured that you’re not alone if you find your excitement tinged with a sense of nervousness as the interview approaches. After all, a great first impression can go a long way toward securing the job offer of your dreams. But how do you make sure you put your best foot forward?

We’ve got you covered with a collection of interview tips for every stage of the interview process. From how to prepare to doing follow-ups, we’ll cover a list of do’s and don’ts that can help you stand out to potential employers or clients.

Learn about the role and the company

The first key to nailing a job interview begins before the interview itself. Always make sure you head into the interview process with a thorough knowledge of the role you’ve applied for and how it fits within the company.

This is a great way to show hiring managers that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity and aren’t just looking to settle for the first job that comes your way. Pre-interview research can also prepare you to answer interview questions in a polished, knowledgeable way.


While you don’t need to memorize the entire history of the company you’ll be interviewing with, every good candidate should know several things. Few actions are a bigger turn-off to recruiters and hiring managers than interviewees who can barely remember what job they applied for in the first place!

Whether you’re interviewing for full-time or freelance work, research helps you verify that the company and role are right for you. Consider these tips to help you walk into your next interview with all the right knowledge:

  • Study the job description thoroughly. A deep understanding of what the job entails will often give you solid hints about the type of job interview questions you’ll be asked to answer. Think of examples from your work history that demonstrate how your skills match the role’s requirements.‍
  • Research the company’s mission and values. Interviewers aren’t just interested in your skill set. They also want to know how you’ll fit into their company’s culture. Research the organization’s core values, and feel free to mention any that align with yours.‍
  • Learn about the hiring manager and interview panel. If you know who you’ll be interviewing with, use tools like LinkedIn to research their backgrounds. This can also be a great way to find common ground or connections.


Now, let’s take a look at what not to do in the research phase. Some common mistakes that won’t do you any favors during this stage of the interview process are:

  • Underestimating the importance of company culture. Understanding an organization’s company culture isn’t about tailoring your answers to what a hiring manager wants to hear. It’s also a prime indicator of whether you’ll be happy working for them and with other team members.

  • Ignoring recent company news. Don’t be the only candidate to go into an interview with no idea that the company just completed a major merger or released an anticipated product. Make sure you’re aware of any major achievements or challenges to avoid coming across as disinterested.

Leverage your network and resources

No matter your industry, plenty of excellent resources are available to help you prepare to interview like a pro. Don’t discount the power of career services or even your own network when it comes to tipping a hiring decision in your favor.


While you may not be able to get a cheat sheet of the interview questions you’ll be asked, you can still find plenty of ways to prepare yourself for your next interview. Some excellent resources to draw on throughout the job search and interview process include:

  • Using your network. Social networks like LinkedIn offer instant access to contacts working in the same industry or even for the company you plan to interview with. Consider reaching out for any insights or advice connections can offer.
  • Utilizing career services. Online resources like common interview questions can be helpful. Take the time to practice beforehand, using techniques like the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method.
  • Preparing your references. Always assume that a company will reach out to the references you provide. Select contacts who can speak positively about your work ethic. Be sure to ask permission before giving out their contact information.


The average job search can be challenging enough as it is. Don’t make it harder by underutilizing your resources! A couple common mistakes to avoid are:

  • Neglecting to inform your references. No matter how great your references are, make sure to give them a heads-up that they may be contacted. Otherwise, they may be caught off guard and give you a less-than-stellar recommendation or ignore the call altogether.
  • Overlooking online resources. Online job-hunting tools and resources have opened up a new world of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to investigate new tools that can help you stay on top of the ever-evolving job market.

Last-minute interview tips

Now that you’ve covered all the initial bases, it’s time to start preparing for the interview process. Let’s review some last-minute do’s and don’ts to help you make a great first impression.


When preparing for your interview, keep these things in mind to set yourself up for success:

  • Prepare your answers. Now’s a good time to review your answers to common interview questions and decide how you’ll handle tricky questions about things like rate or salary expectations. Try to prepare a question or two that you can ask to demonstrate your interest in learning more about the work.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. While it’s important to make sure that your LinkedIn profile matches the resume you submitted, you can also update it to showcase additional work experience and achievements.
  • Dress appropriately. Whether you’re interviewing for a job in AI or the restaurant business, make sure you always dress professionally. This sign of respect shows interviewers that making a good first impression is important to you.
  • Bring copies of your resume. While your interviewers will likely have digital copies of your resume, print out a few hard copies to bring just in case. This may save your interviewer from having to fire up their laptop and locate your resume among hundreds of other submissions.


A successful job interview requires bringing your A game, not your bad habits. Let’s go over a few things you don’t want to do in a job interview:

  • Fidget or chew gum. Both of these habits can come across as unprofessional at best and annoying at worst. If you’re prone to fidgeting, make a mindful effort to clasp your hands or focus on your breathing.
  • Bring your cell phone. Don’t ever take a cell phone into an interview unless you’re positive it’s off, not just silent. You might consider leaving it in the car unless you suspect you might need it to look up information such as the contact information of past employers or other references.
  • Slouch or fail to make eye contact. While it’s important to stay relaxed, don’t go overboard! Poor body language can come across as a lack of interest or confidence.

During the interview

Now, let’s get into the heart of the interview process and discuss best practices for making a good first impression. The tips in this section will give you a solid introduction to interview etiquette and help you stand out from the crowd.


We’ll start with several tips that can help you come across as polished and professional. Some things to keep in mind throughout your next job interview include:

  • Make a strong first impression. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile. Throughout your interview, make a point of natural but consistent eye contact to show your interest and confidence.‍
  • Answer questions concisely. This is where practicing common interview questions beforehand can really come in handy. Make an effort to provide clear, concise answers and avoid rambling.‍
  • Show enthusiasm. Remember that research you did in the company and role? Now’s the time to put it to good use by highlighting what made you so excited about the opportunity.‍
  • Ask insightful questions. Rare is the interviewer who won’t ask if you have any questions for them. Try to prepare one or two questions about aspects of the job or company that truly interest you.‍
  • Discuss your work experience. Keep in mind that your interviewer is already familiar with the work experience highlighted on your resume. Rather than simply relisting specific roles, make an effort to focus on how your achievements tie into the responsibilities outlined in the job description.


When it comes to making a great first impression, sometimes what you don’t do can be just as important as what you do. Avoid common interview mishaps by ensuring that you don’t:

  • Arrive late. Showing up late for a job interview is one of the quickest ways to tank your shot at securing work. If you have a genuine emergency, make sure to call ahead and alert your interviewer as soon as possible.
  • Speak negatively about previous employers or clients. No matter how bad a former employer or client was, now is not the time or place to recount the horrors of your last job. Avoid off-putting or awkward situations by focusing on the positive aspects of your past job experiences.‍
  • Overlook the job description. If there’s one thing you should never do, it’s go into a job interview without a thorough understanding of the job description. This can lead to irrelevant answers and an overall waste of the interviewer’s time.‍
  • Ignore the interviewer’s cues. Body language is a huge part of communication, so make sure not to ignore your interviewer’s body language. Non-verbal cues can give you plenty of hints about the need to pivot your responses or approach.

After the interview

Last but not least, keep in mind that the interview process doesn’t end after the interview. Don’t get so caught up looking for signs that you’ll get the job that you forget important post-interview follow-ups.


Depending on how many candidates are being interviewed, final hiring decisions can take some time. Consider these tips on what to do in the meantime:

  • Express your gratitude. Thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity. If you’re unsure about what to say, consider personalizing a thank you follow-up email template.‍
  • Connect on LinkedIn. Politely requesting to connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn is a great way to reiterate your interest and keep in touch. You might even consider sending them a post-interview thank you message rather than an email.‍
  • Send a follow-up email. Knowing when to follow up after an interview can be tricky. But if you haven’t heard back after five to seven business days, it may be time to send a short follow-up email expressing your gratitude for the interview and continued interest in speaking further.


Don’t ruin a great interview with a bad follow-up. In the last stages of the interview process, make sure you don’t:

  • Ramble in your follow-up. While a polite, concise follow-up is lovely, a rambling novel about why you deserve the job is a big mistake. Keep your follow-ups professional and to the point.‍
  • Forget to prepare for the next interview. Don’t get so nervous about whether you’ll get a response that you forget to be prepared if you do. Start to prepare for the next stages in the hiring process in case you’re selected to move forward.

In summary

As you can see, a great deal of making a good first impression at a job interview comes down to being prepared. Let’s do a quick recap of key points to consider as you prepare for your next interview:


  • Take the time to thoroughly research the role and company
  • Understand why you’re a good fit and how it relates to your previous work experience
  • Use online career resources to think through answers to common interview questions beforehand
  • Arrive on time, dress professionally, and maintain professional interview etiquette
  • Always send a follow-up to thank the interviewer for their time


  • Underestimate the need to research the company or job description
  • Put yourself on the spot by failing to prepare solid answers ahead of time
  • Forget to tell your references that you used them as references
  • Slouch, fail to make eye contact, or engage in any other distracting or impolite behavior
  • Send long or rambling follow-up messages

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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6 Tips for Creating a Successful Hybrid Work Situation (& 4 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs)

6 Tips for Creating a Successful Hybrid Work Situation (& 4 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs)

While the global workforce was increasingly shifting toward remote work before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to quickly adapt to remote work environments. While some companies continue to support entirely remote workforces, others now require team members to work in the office either full-time or on a hybrid basis.

With a hybrid workplace model, determining who is required to work in the office and when, along with other considerations, can be complicated. Because of this, developing and implementing a hybrid work policy can help ensure a smooth process for both team members and the business as a whole.


A hybrid work policy is a formal document that defines guidelines, processes, and expectations related to how, when, and where team members in specific roles or filling certain functions work. An effective policy clarifies information about how often and which days team members will be required in the office and working hours, among other details.

Key components of a hybrid work policy include:

  • Remote work options and requirements
  • In-office expectations
  • The policy’s effective date
  • Working hours
  • Opportunities for flexible work arrangements and accommodations
  • Collaboration and communication best practices, processes, and tools
  • Technology, equipment, and office access guidelines and resources
  • Workplace safety procedures  
  • Security and compliance regulations
  • Contact details for follow-up questions related to the policy


Many companies embrace hybrid work models to continue offering workers the flexibility and autonomy of remote work, while also improving in-person teamwork and collaboration. However, in the absence of a well-defined policy, hybrid work expectations and requirements may be unclear to workers, which can disrupt employee engagement, retention, and productivity. According to a survey of 7,300 professionals conducted by Fishbowl, about half of respondents didn’t understand their employer’s hybrid work policy.

Here are some of the benefits of a documented hybrid work policy:

  • Increased clarity and transparency about the requirements and expectations of hybrid work
  • Decreased misconceptions and misunderstanding about work schedules and protocols
  • Minimized bias by defining standardized hybrid work requirements across departments and teams
  • Enhanced worker motivation and engagement by outlining the reasoning behind hybrid work arrangements, such as opportunities for team collaboration
  • Improved legal compliance and risk mitigation by ensuring the policy complies with labor laws, regulations, and employment standards  


Before developing a formal hybrid work policy, address key questions to ensure your policy is clear, concise, and meets the needs of both the business and workers.

Consider the following questions before creating your policy:

  • How many team members live within a reasonable distance to commute to the office?
  • Would any workers need to relocate to meet the hybrid work policy requirements?
  • Can certain roles remain fully remote if necessary?
  • Which work tasks or responsibilities require face-to-face collaboration or office resources?
  • How will your management team determine when certain workers are expected in the office versus others?
  • Will team members be assigned workspaces in the office or use desks on a first-come, first-serve basis?
  • Will you offer any flexibility for workers to choose which days they’ll work in person?
  • How will you communicate the hybrid arrangement across the organization and answer any related questions?
  • What process will you implement to track and hold team members accountable for adhering to the policy?
  • Do you have a succession plan in place to help backfill positions if team members choose to leave the organization for a fully remote role elsewhere?
  • How will your organization support effective communication among onsite and remote employees?
  • What tools and technology will be provided to support collaboration between in-office and virtual workers?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring onsite workers have access to the office and any necessary resources?
  • What are the legal implications and compliance requirements of hybrid work?
  • How will you measure the success and impact of your hybrid workplace policy? 


Creating and implementing an effective hybrid work policy is a collaborative effort that involves input from teams across the organization, including leadership, human resources, legal, finance, and information technology.

1. Assess work roles and responsibilities

Individuals in some roles or with certain job duties may benefit from more in-office time than others. For example, roles such as creative directors, project managers, and sales managers often brainstorm and collaborate closely with team members and would have more opportunities to do so in the office. On the other hand, positions such as web developers, researchers, and data analysts may require more heads-down, focused time away from office distractions.

Review your organizational chart to determine how you may balance when certain workers will come into the office. Individuals in highly collaborative roles may work in the office three or four days a week, while those in more independent roles may come in twice a week or have more flexibility to continue working remotely.

As part of this process, keep your office capacity in mind to ensure workspace is available for all workers on any given day. Also, try scheduling entire teams for the same in-office days, so individuals can fully benefit from in-person work rather than needing to video conference with some team members while they’re in the office.

When assessing the best-fit work arrangement for roles and responsibilities, also consider opportunities to embrace a hybrid workforce model. While a hybrid workplace model refers to workers dividing their time between the office and a remote setting, a hybrid workforce model means a company’s workforce includes both in-house team members and independent professionals. Engaging independent talent can help your team access expert remote workers for projects that require specialized skills and experience.

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Communication plays a critical role in building trusting relationships, facilitating collaboration, and achieving business outcomes. However, navigating communication between in-office and remote workers, across time zones and around team members’ availability, can be tricky.

The following communication best practices can help support effective communication in a hybrid work setting:

  • Leveraging communication and collaboration tools, such as email, messaging apps, project management software, video conferencing solutions, and shared documents
  • Defining guidelines and expectations for when each communication channel should be used (for comments in project management software for quick updates and team meetings for brainstorming and more in-depth conversations)
  • Training new team members on collaboration tools and communication expectations during onboarding
  • Recommending asynchronous communication to simplify correspondence between in-office and remote workers, as well as across time zones
  • Hosting a recurring team check-in with a set agenda
  • Planning virtual team building activities to develop camaraderie among team members
  • Scheduling one-on-one meetings with direct reports to discuss progress toward goals, share feedback, and answer questions
  • Distributing surveys to collect feedback on how to improve communication across the organizations


Managing security and technology in a hybrid workplace can be challenging and, without effective measures in place, can pose significant security risks to the business. According to data from Lookout, 32% of remote and hybrid workers surveyed use apps or software not approved by IT and 92% perform work tasks on their personal tablet or smartphone devices.

Hybrid work policy considerations from a technology and security standpoint include:

  • Providing workers with necessary equipment for remote work or offering reimbursement stipends for required technology
  • Ensuring workers have secure remote access to company resources
  • Offering remote and in-office information technology support
  • Maintaining a list of apps and software solutions approved by the IT department
  • Outlining security guidelines and requirements for workers who access company information on personal devices
  • Requiring all workers to install and regularly update antivirus and related cybersecurity software
  • Administering security and compliance training to all team members
  • Equipping the office with necessary technology resources, such as high-speed secure internet and extra computers, monitors, keyboards, and other equipment for workers who cannot bring them from home
  • Providing in-person workers with key cards, lock passcodes, and other necessary clearance to access the office
  • Having a process in place to terminate access to company systems and equipment when team members leave the organization

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Performance metrics and productivity benchmarks will vary depending on each individual’s role and goals. Implementing a formal process to write employee evaluations and conduct performance reviews can help keep the process organized and ensure all team members are evaluated on the same scale.

Here are some steps your organization can take to set performance benchmarks and measure team member success:

  • Establish a standardized employee performance review template
  • Align individual performance goals with overall team and business objectives
  • Identify goals that are SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—for each team member and track progress during recurring check-ins and performance discussions
  • Use clear and objective language when sharing performance feedback
  • Allow time for individuals to share feedback and questions
  • Identify insights or trends across all team members to improve overall performance and productivity

While many aspects of performance management remain the same whether you have a remote, hybrid, or in-person workplace model, you can also adapt certain parts of the process as part of your hybrid policy.

For example, to the degree possible, encourage managers to schedule performance management discussions for in-office days. Also consider including feedback or specific metrics related to how team members handle communication or meet deadlines and goals when they’re in-person versus remote.

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Whether team members work in the office or remotely, their health and safety should be a top priority. Your organization can enable this by maintaining a comfortable, safe office environment and offering workers resources to support their health and productivity at home.

Some ways to address health and safety concerns include:

  • Conducting team member training about office safety protocols
  • Securing office entries and exits
  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing workspaces
  • Offering ergonomic office furniture and stipends for at-home office equipment
  • Encouraging workers to stay home or take time off if they’re sick
  • Supporting a healthy work-life balance
  • Checking in with team members regularly about their workloads
  • Offering workers access to mental health and well-being resources

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After spending time as a remote worker, many individuals don’t want to return to the office and one of the top reasons for this is that requiring in-office work minimizes the flexibility and autonomy of fully remote work. In fact, a survey of 1,000 workers conducted by Clarify Capital found that 68% of respondents would rather look for a new job than return to the office, while 34% say they would need flexible working hours to be willing to return to the office.

Here are some best practices to support flexibility in your remote work policy:

  • Giving workers the option to choose at least one day of the week they work in the office
  • Enabling team members to shift their hybrid work schedule if they have a doctor’s appointment or other personal priority on an in-office day
  • Setting standard in-office hours as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and allowing workers to adjust if necessary
  • Scheduling meetings at times when most or all team members are in the office or available online
  • Recording meetings and sharing recordings as-needed with individuals unable to attend  
  • Allowing workers to occasionally work remotely on scheduled in-office days if they need to complete independent, focused work without office distractions
  • Adding benefits or perks, such as commuter or child care reimbursements, to ease the transition from remote to hybrid work
  • Supporting a gradual transition period for team members returning from parental leave, such as allowing full-time remote work for the first few months before returning to hybrid work
  • Offering a flexible holiday schedule, so individual team members can take days off or work remotely on holidays most meaningful to them

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While a hybrid work policy can be updated over time, aligning with stakeholders across the company on a clear, concise document is essential before communicating the policy to the broader workforce. This approach can help ensure you avoid miscommunication, confusion, or disengagement among team members.

As you develop your hybrid work policy, avoid common mistakes to support the successful implementation of the policy.

1. Lacking clarity and specifics

Vague language can lead to worker confusion and frustrations. Ensure all details in your hybrid work policy are as clear as possible. For example, instead of broadly stating, “The company is transitioning from a remote to hybrid work arrangement,” consider wording like, “The company is transitioning from a remote to hybrid work arrangement on April 1. Team members can continue to work remotely for three days each week and will be required to work in the office two days a week.”

Also include details about whether workers can choose which days to come into the office or if the schedule will be determined based on individual teams, departments, or managers.

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Your hybrid work policy should be fair to all team members and avoid showing favoritism toward individuals or departments. Successfully implementing a hybrid work policy requires adoption and support starting at the leadership and management level. Set expectations and hold leaders accountable for coming into the office on their team’s assigned days. This will in turn set an example for team members to adhere to the policy.

While flexibility is important, avoid getting too lax with the hybrid work policy. When a manager or other team member wants to swap in-office work for remote work days, confirm they have a legitimate reason for doing so.  


A common reason workers don’t want to return to the office is that they don’t see the reason or benefit behind doing so. Instead, many believe they’re required to return to the office so employers can monitor them or because leaders don’t believe they’re productive at home.

To help workers better understand why they’re required to work in person, explain your rationale. Leverage data to show how in-person collaboration improves engagement and business outcomes. Also plan to intentionally schedule team brainstorms, strategy sessions, and other collaborative meetings on days when team members are in the office, which can show workers the firsthand benefits of hybrid work.  

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A comprehensive hybrid work policy should include all key components, from requirements and expectations to technology guidelines and security and compliance regulations. If any critical elements are left out, this will only lead to additional questions from team members and may pose a risk for potential legal and compliance issues.

Before finalizing your hybrid work policy, circulate the document to key stakeholders across your human resources, leadership, legal, and finance teams for feedback and to flag any components that should be added.


As business needs and worker expectations continue to evolve, regularly reviewing and updating your hybrid workforce policy is important to long-term success and collaboration across the organization.

Some ways you may consider revising your policy include:

  • Soliciting team member feedback and updating your policy based on specific trends across the workforce
  • Clarifying points in the policy that come across as unclear or raise questions from team members
  • Offering fully remote roles on a case-by-base basis, such as when the local market near your workplace is highly competitive for a critical role
  • Increasing remote work and flexible work options for positions that require more independent, focused work, rather than collaboration
  • Adapting your hybrid requirements as your organization evolves, such as fewer days in the office for certain teams or expanding your office space to accommodate increased headcount
  • Rethinking performance metrics and productivity benchmarks used to determine the success of your hybrid work arrangements
  • Implementing new technology solutions and other resources to drive efficiencies across your hybrid team
  • Monitoring the latest legal, regulatory, and employment standard requirements and addressing updates in your policy

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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