Interview Dos and Don’ts | Haystack Africa

Interview Dos and Don’ts

In a past post, we covered how to prepare for an interview. Preparation is an important step, but only one step in the process. Once you have adequately prepared for an interview, you need to ace the actual interview!

In this post, we will cover some of the Dos and Don’ts of how to conduct yourself in an interview.


  1. Show up early. It is important to give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Make sure you know where the office is located, how far it is from your home, and add extra time for contingencies (traffic, etc.). If you are running late due to unforeseen circumstances, call the interviewer ahead of time and let them know that you will be late. This demonstrates that you respect their time and can communicate well.
  2. Wear professional attire. The interview is the time and place to make a great first impression with the employees of the company and likely your future colleagues. Make sure you dress professionally. It is always better to overdress than underdress! Note: Don’t wear sneakers!
  3. Answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell your interviewer that you don’t know. Employers value honesty. As an interviewer, I would appreciate a candidate honestly answering that they don’t know the answer, compared to a candidate that tries to invent an answer. Your interview will quickly recognize the fact that you are lying!


  1. Leave without having all your questions answered. While the interview is an opportunity for the company to get to know you, it’s an equal opportunity for you to get to know the company and the position. Do not leave the interview without getting all your questions answered. Don’t be afraid to bring up topics such as the salary range, the stipend, benefits, potential start date, and probationary period. It’s always better to ask about these topics before you get further into the process to make sure your expectations and the employer’s expectations are aligned.
  2. Interrupt the interviewer. Do not interrupt the interviewer. If the interviewer is speaking to you or posing a question, don’t interrupt them halfway through. Wait until they finish their questions or comments before speaking. This demonstrates a clear lack of respect for them and their time. It’s an easy way to get dismissed as a candidate.
  3. Don’t reveal too many personal details. Interviewers will not solely focus on your past professional experience but will also want to get to know you as a person. They are not just hiring to fill a role, but they are hiring their future colleague. The interviewer might ask you some personal questions such as your hobbies and interest. Do not reveal too much information about your personal life that is not relevant to the questions asked. It’s fine to talk about your family and things you enjoy doing outside of work, but they don’t need to hear about your night at the bar last weekend!

Do you have any experience interviewing? Tell us about some of the things that worked well or that didn’t go as planned in the comments below!

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