DON’T Ask…And other things you should never say on an interview.

It’s come to my attention that some of my blogs are supremely lacking in…what’s the word…purpose. So in an effort to avoid becoming the very thing that made me wary of blogs to begin with (that being blogs with no purpose except to ramble about what one had for breakfast), I’ve decided to cut back on my blogging unless I have a reason to write.

Fortunately, I had my capstone interview today, which inspired me to compile all the advice I’ve garnered about interview etiquette in that blogger’s fave, the list. Ok, preface over. Begin helpful blog.


I hate interviewing. I hate having to brag about myself. I hate pretending to be natural whilst trying to sell myself (in the not dirty way). I hate idle chit-chat with forced laughter. I sweat profusely, I tend to repeat expressions (I’m really excited about the opportunity to…), and I stutter. In my capstone interview today, I literally spent the first 45 seconds in panic that I was going to start gasping because I couldn’t catch my breath mid-sentence.

Of course, I realize that interviewing is a necessary part of life if you want to have a career (outside of homeschooling your children). Which is why I’ve tried to get better at it. Throughout my journey, I’ve gathered a few little nuggets of wisdom I’m now imparting to you.

1. Don’t memorize answers. It will sound forced, and if they ask you something you’re not expecting, you’re more likely to panic.

2. That being said, prepare a brief (30 second to 1 minute) “tell me about yourself” answer, generally about your schooling or a synopsis of the best things you’ve done career-wise.

3. Have two to three main ideas that you know you want to bring up. For example, my three were 1) I’m incredibly organized, especially when it comes to schedules, 2) I have experience managing people, and I like working with them to develop a cohesive and impressive product, 3) I have a lot of enthusiasm for this project, despite the potential roadblocks we’re facing. The idea is that these points are easy to work into conversation so you don’t sound forced or fake.

4. Have two to three anecdotes from past experience that portray you in a positive light. Whether it’s the time you saved the day at the restaurant you work at by filling in for a sick waitress AND busing all the tables or the time your attention to detail spotted a clerical error in the spreadsheet your boss was about to present to a client, these stories are ways to brag about your strengths without seeming like you’re bragging.

5. The basics: be a little early, firm but not bone-crushing handshake, look them in the eye, be friendly, and don’t say “like” before every sentence. Don’t feel like you have to answer their questions right away; it’s ok to think about it (of course, don’t have them wondering if you had a stroke mid-question).

Above all else, relax. They WANT you to be the perfect person to hire; if you are, their job is done. So all you have to do is not prove them wrong. That’s not so hard, right?

Oh yeah, and breathe.


3 thoughts on “DON’T Ask…And other things you should never say on an interview.

  1. I hear that! I had a friend one time who went into an interview and forgot to take in enough oxygen to finish a sentence. It was SO EMBARRASSING! Great advice!

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