Best tips and advice for nailing that important job interview

A man in a beard is sitting across from a man and woman in a conference room setting in an office.

In today’s competitive job market, smashing a job interview is another step closer to landing your dream job, but do you know all the tips to make the best first impression?

After you’ve piqued a recruiter’s interest with your CV and cover letter, it’s time to get prepared for face-to-face or virtual interviews. Whether you’re a professional with years of experience or a recent graduate, interviews can be intimidating. According to a survey from LinkedIn, 83 per cent of job seekers say that a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they previously felt positive about.

For the LGBTQ+ community, job interviews can be particularly challenging. According to a survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, 53 per cent of LGBTQ employees reported hearing jokes or derogatory comments about LGBTQ+ people at work. Remember that there are laws that protect your rights in both the UK and the US. 

We’ve compiled a list of job interview tips and ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to take with you to the job interview. If you’re still feeling nervous, just remember to be your authentic self and you’ve been brought in because the hiring managers see promise in you. 

A woman wearing a black suit is shaking hands and smiling.
Some things to do during an interview involve doing research on the company and arriving on time. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

Interview do’s

Research the company 

This first helpful job interview tip is to thoroughly research the company and the position you’re applying for before the interview. This includes the company’s policies on LGBTQ+ issues. This will help you answer questions more confidently and show the interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the company and its goals.

Dress appropriately

Dressing appropriately for your interview is crucial, but don’t default to power suits. Remember to reflect your personal style – after all, you’re there because they are interested in you. Please don’t feel like you don’t have to conform to gender norms or stereotypes. If you are unsure about the company’s dress code, just ask while you’re trading emails with the hiring manager.

Be on time

Being on time for your interview is a sign of respect and professionalism. If you can, arrive a few minutes early so you have time to collect yourself and mentally prepare for the interview. Make sure to know exactly where the office is before you leave, check those public transit timetables and if you’re driving, check for parking options ahead of time.

Practice your answers 

While you can’t predict every question the interviewer will ask, you can prepare for common ones – if you’re a veteran interviewee this should be pretty easy. Practice your answers to questions like ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’ by using past work experiences. Also, this is a good chance to highlight your soft skills like communication and empathy. Remember that employers are valuing soft skills just as much as your technical skills. Coming prepared will help you answer more confidently and you’ll be able to articulate your thoughts clearly.

Ask thoughtful questions 

Asking questions shows that you’re genuinely interested in the position and the company. Ask about the company’s goals, culture, and how the position fits into the overall structure of the company. This is the perfect opportunity to ask about the company’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues. Ask about non-discrimination policies, LGBTQ+ employee resource groups or their support of LGBTQ+ causes.

A woman in a green shirt is smiling.
Some things to avoid during an interview would be oversharing and badmouthing previous employers. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

Interview don’ts

Don’t be late 

Being late for an interview is the easiest way to make a poor first impression. If you do run into unexpected traffic or other delays, make sure you call the interviewer and let them know you’ll be late. Also, it’s extremely bad form to ghost the interviewer completely. 

Don’t talk negatively about past employers 

Talking negatively about previous employers can make you appear unprofessional and unreliable. Even if you had a negative experience, try to spin it in a positive light and focus on what you learned from the experience.

Don’t overshare 

While it’s important to be personable and authentic during an interview, try not to overshare. Keep the conversation focused on your professional skills and qualifications. For LGBTQ+ folks, this doesn’t mean keeping yourself in the closet. While your sexual and gender identity is important, you are under no obligation to come out unless you feel comfortable. Remember that your identity does not impact your qualifications for the job.

Don’t ask about salary or benefits 

This particular ‘don’t’ is for the initial interview and is up for debate. While it’s important to know the salary and benefits of a position, it’s best to wait until a second interview to learn more about your pay packet. However, as more employers are increasing their transparency when it comes to pay – they may ask. In that case, tell them what you are worth! 

Don’t forget to follow up 

After your interview, make sure to follow up with a thank-you email or note. This shows the interviewer that you appreciate their time and are still interested in the position.

Don’t tolerate any discriminatory questions

Regardless of your sexuality or gender identity, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. You have the legal right to have a safe and respectful interview that focuses on your skills and the contributions you could make to the company. While it is easier said than done, if you find yourself being asked discriminatory questions, please sound off and report it! 

Please login or register to comment on this story.