Practical Interview Etiquette

Lonnie Pacelli

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OK, very few of us like the interviewing process. Unfortunately, you've got to face the music once in a while. Keep these few nuggets in mind when you're going on your next interview or if you want to advise a colleague:

Be very very honest – if an interviewer senses at all you are being evasive in answering questions or are trying to fudge your way through questions, you’re doomed.

Recognize that the interviewer is looking both at your knowledge and your thought process on how you would approach problems – for instance, if you get a “how would you build a 150 story skyscraper” question, just take a deep breath and start talking through how you would do it. Saying things like “it’s impossible” shows lack of initiative and creativity and will negatively impact the interviewer’s perception of you.

Don’t lose your cool – the interviewer may intentionally be trying to get you off balance and see how easily they can frustrate you. Stay the course and don’t allow the interviewer to get under your skin. Answer questions thoughtfully; not laced with emotion.

Show passion – interviewers will want to see how much excitement and energy you’re going to bring to the job. Be passionate about the job, the company, and the products the company sells. Coming in with the excitement of cottage cheese will not leave the interviewer with a comfortable feel you are going to attack problems.

Be on time, dress nice, and smell good – These are very easy to control and can only help in the impression you make. Make sure your clothing is in-style, conservative, and fits you appropriately. Wearing a suit from the 80’s that doesn’t button around your midsection might not be the best attention-getter.

Lonnie Pacelli has over 20 years experience with Accenture and Microsoft and is currently president of Leading on the Edge™ International. Lonnie's books include “The Project Management Advisor: 18 Major Project Screw-Ups and How to Cut Them Off at the Pass" and “The Truth About Getting Your Point Across". Get the books, leadership products, other articles, MP3 seminars and a free email mini seminar at


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