Want to do well in a job interview?

  • May 29, 2023

If you had an interview today, would you feel prepared?


As headhunters, we get to speak with great professionals every day. Some perform very well in interviews with clients and us, but others, even great high-achievers, are only sometimes prepared for an interview. In many cases, professionals stay for years in the same position and company, which is excellent, and they need to "exercise" the interview moment.


Over the past ten years, we have worked for multinationals, startups, and consultancies in the US, Brazil, and the Americas, recruiting local and international technology and leadership professionals. We got to understand what companies want to achieve during the interview time. And we will now share with you some tips: "What not to do" and "What to do." for the interview time. We hope this is helpful to you.


What NOT to do

  • If this is a remote meeting, your appearance should be the same as for a face-to-face interview. I think a good impression is essential. We interviewed people who were in their pajamas :)
  • Bad-mouthing the boss and the previous company is not a good idea.
  • Arrogance, after doing very well at the beginning of the selection process. We've already had cases of a professional who did very well in the first two stages, arrived arrogant for the final conversation, and was rejected. In a second example of arrogance, we already had cases of professionals who entered an interview to say that they were "evaluating the market." The recruiter and the company felt they should not spend time with a professional who was not interested in the company and the opportunity.
  • It's not a good idea to say you're an anxious person only, but instead, conclude your thoughts by sharing situations and solutions that you engineered for problems individually and working in a team. When asked about flaws, discuss the points you need to develop in your career and tell practical cases.
  • Start answering before listening to the recruiter's question. Don't be wordy; consider the size of the answer. You must balance being direct and objective and getting lost in too-long responses.
  • Be imprecise about salary. Please be open about how much you must pay for your current lifestyle.
  • We enjoy it when the interview feels more like a chat and the candidate is relaxed, but we should not exaggerate the humor.
  • Unforeseen events happen, but rescheduling more than once is a bad sign. Demonstrates disinterest and coolness.
  • Ask only a little for fast feedback for the interview. We had cases where the candidate asked the company twice daily for feedback. The Hiring Manager and the team need to get organized for the new employee's arrival.
  • Please don't worry about disapprovals. It happens. You will find the right opportunity soon. Thank the company for the interview opportunity, and move on. In a 30-60 minute interview, there needs to be more time for the recruiter to make a complete and detailed assessment of your profile and give you detailed feedback on all the points a candidate needs to improve.
  • Go into details of your personal life. Be careful not to spend too much time detailing family issues for the recruiter.
  • If you are not an English speaker but are applying for a job requiring Fluent English, do not refuse to speak in English when the recruiter asks. Instead, please turn the conversation to English in your following response.
  • Political views and religion are not good interview subjects. Well, not only for an interview today. These topics can kill family and friends' parties :)
  • Please don't lie or give vague answers about your availability to start, be honest, as the company will do the planning and rely on you at the time.

What to do

  • Plan your day to be ready at least 15 minutes before the interview (for remote and in-presence meetings). Inform the company as early as possible if you need to reschedule.
  • Test your internet, and be in a place with an excellent connection. Find a comfortable environment. Do a test in advance on the platforms (Zoom, Meets, Teams, there are several, and sometimes you need to download an application). You can close unused browser tabs, keep your phone silent and turn off notifications.
  • Pay attention to the delay that can happen due to the internet. Speak more slowly, give the interviewer time to listen, and follow up with questions.
  • Research on Company (Google News) and Interviewer (find connection points on LinkedIn).
  • Practice and think of answers to generic questions. For example, Why are you considering a career move? Why did you start working as a Developer? Are you okay with working on a hybrid model for two days at the office?
  • Record yourself speaking (check posture, and expressions, if you smile and show confidence)
  • Tell your professional story succinctly. Talk about mistakes and successes. Shows the good side and also learnings. For the recruiter, it's fantastic to talk to transparent professionals who know their strengths and points where they need to improve. Be honest.
  • Whenever possible, insert real cases and numbers in your answers. You can say, for example, that you participated in a small team of 3 that developed a mobile app from scratch and reached 1 million users in 1 year. This is different from I have one year of mobile app development.
  • Please make eye contact, and look at the interviewer.
  • Understand the position's challenges and skills required, and ask questions. It is a moment where both sides need to decide whether it makes sense to continue the conversation.
  • Inform at the end of the interview if you are in other processes so the recruiter understands the time they have to proceed with the hiring.
  • Show energy and interest and ask questions. Sometimes we had situations where clients hired a professional with less experience but showed a willingness to learn, supplanting a more senior professional.
  • You can search for contacts in the company to understand the culture. Do you know if the communication is more formal or informal? How do people dress? How do leaders treat their teams? What is the speed of change and the company's workspace?
  • I'd like you to please understand a little about how competency-based interview works. They are trendy among recruiters. You can find an article about it on our blog.
  • Think and prepare an answer to the question: where are you heading your career?
  • When asked if you have any questions at the end of the interview, stop and think for a few seconds. If there is a point of doubt, this is the moment when you have the company's attention.
  • Please speak up if you feel the opportunity is for someone else, and already tell the recruiter.

We have an excellent result when the points above are worked on in a well-done interview. Both recruiter and candidate are satisfied with the information collected. If it doesn't work out for this opportunity, it could be an open door to another position in the company or to suggest someone you know for the job. Share other tips you remember that should have been added to the list above in the comments!

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